Louisville Real Estate Blog | Brad Long Real Estate Group | Keller Williams Louisville East

Downtown Louisville Home Owners Welcome New Waterfront Development

While Louisville’s downtown skyline has been beautiful for decades, the waterfront area downtown has left something to be desired. But recent years have seen quite a bit of development on the waterfront, and Waterfront Park now serves as the backdrop to fun events and festivals enticing locals and visitors alike. Now, downtown Louisville home owners are welcoming a new waterfront development that’s merely the tip of an iceburg of exciting new growth: the RiverPark Place Marina, which officially opened May 18.

The 149-slip marina, at a cost of $7 million, has become the largest marina along nearby sections of the Ohio River. Its floating docks cover a half-mile of the river’s edge and offers berths that are 40 to 100 feet long. Lead developer, Steve Poe, plans to sell roughly 30 of the boat slips at $40,000 to $80,000 each, and about half have already been claimed. The remaining slips will be leased for $2,700 to $5,950 per year, and approximately 30 have signed leases.

The marina won’t be by itself for long though. An entire RiverPark Place development is planned to include lofts, luxury condos, penthouses, 100,000 square feet of retail space, 400,000 square feet of office space, 7 restaurants, a marina store, and a fitness center. Construction has begun one of the partment complexes which will contain 167 units that should be ready to occupy in January of 2012. In order to raise living quarters above the Ohio River’s 100-year flood plain, the building will include four residential levels over a parking structure.

Also open now is a ¾-mile-long portion of the River Walk through the RiverPark Place area that, once completed, will connect Waterfront Park’s eastern edge with Eva Bandman Park which is upstream across Beargrass Creek. Between the existing Waterfront Park and Belvedere and the new RiverPark Place development that is now starting to take shape, Louisville’s riverfront will have the potential to become as popular as those in larger waterfront cities. But only time will tell what benefits the finished product will bring. For now though, downtown Louisville homeowners have a new marina to welcome and enjoy.

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Fern Creek Homeowners Encourage Love of Native Plants

With a background as a park ranger, it’s not surprise that Stephen Brown loves nature. So when he and Anne Milligan moved to Louisville, they wanted to find a place with lots of trees. This led them to Fern Creek and a home surrounded by beautiful, tall trees and a couple koi ponds. The trees stayed but the koi ponds were taken out. These Fern Creek homeowners have made it their personal mission to grow native plants in their yard. Instead of stagnant koi ponds, they now have 83 different species of native plants on their land.

“Naturescaping” is the term now used for landscaping with native plants, and there are a number of benefits to using these plants rather than those imported from elsewhere. One obvious one is their beauty. Native plants often produce eye-catching flowers and plenty of seeds and fruits as well as stunning foliage in the fall. Because these plants grow in soil that is ideal for them, it’s easy to get them to look good. And speaking of easy, the low maintenance is another definite plus. Native plants require far less care than those unaccustomed to the soil and environmental conditions here which means less watering and fewer pesticides.

Another benefit is the development of available habitat areas for wildlife. Habitat is disappearing at a frightening rate today, but by growing native plants, even in urban areas, we provide the nectar needed by hummingbirds and butterflies and the seeds and insects that birds, squirrels, and other animals require. This also provides a community benefit as native planting continues to grow and nurture native wildlife through the generations.

There are hundreds of plants native to Kentucky. Some of our native trees include the Ash Leaf, Striped, Red, and Sugar Maples, Yellow Buckeye, Eastern Redbud, Persimmon, Dogwood, Red and Yellow Oaks, and White Ash. Beautiful flowing plants include the Red Columbine, Pink Milkweed, Pawpaw, American Hornbeam, Trumpet Creeper, Lobed Tickseed, Cardinal Flower, Honeysuckle, Sweetbay Magnolia, Bluebell, and Wild Plum. And these are only a few! To find pictures and information about the hundreds of plants that are native to Kentucky, check out Wildflower Center.

Stephen Brown and Anne Milligan have realized their dream of living in a forest-like setting in Fern Creek. In order to share their interest in native plants, they have many different varieties available for sale at the Fern Creek Farmer’s Market at 6104 Bardstown Road from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays through September 17. To get a look at amazing pictures of their own naturscape, check out the Courier-Journal site. These Fern Creek homeowners have certainly made a beautiful impact not only on their immediate surroundings but on the whole community as well.

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Louisville's Park System

Cherokee Park in the FallConsidered the father of American landscape design, Frederick Law Olmstead was commissioned to design the Louisville park system in 1891. He became famous as the designer of New York’s Central Park and by the time he came to Louisville, he was also well-known for his work on the grounds of the Biltmore estate in North Carolina and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. But previous to his work in Louisville, parks were usually designed as free-standing entities. Olmstead had a unique new vision for creating a unified system of parks connected by beautiful tree-lined parkways.

Louisville’s park system is only one of four such integrated systems of urban green space and more fully embodies Olmstead’s vision than any other.Olmstead’s plan was not only environmental in the sense that it made the native landscape the park system’s key feature, but it was rooted in his hopes for social good as well. He wanted his parks to be open to people from all walks of life and income levels so that they could gather socially for picnics, engage in athletics or other forms of exercise, and simply walk or relax. Olmstead and his two sons were the designers for our 6 beautiful parkways and 18 total Louisville parks. These include the big ones, like Cherokee, Iroquois, Seneca, Algonquin, and Shawnee as well as the smaller green spaces like Baxter, Bingham, Boone, Central, Chickasaw, Churchill, Elliott, Shelby, Stansbury, Tyler, Wayside, and Willow.

Certainly, all of us who love Louisville are grateful for Olmstead’s vision and the local beauty it produced.


Louisville Homes Spruce Up For Summer with Container Gardens

One of the many advantages to owning a home over renting an apartment is the ability to have a garden. Tending to beautiful flowers or harvesting vegetables is part of the traditional vision of home ownership, and few things seem more downright American than being able to pull a tomato off the vine or pluck a red rose from a garden you tended on land you own yourself. But today, many of us lack the time, space, and patience to be true gardening aficionados even though we’d like to be able to grow something of visual beauty or culinary value on our little parcel of the Earth without backbreaking work, lots of time, and money. And fortunately, we can. Many Louisville homeowners achieve this very dream through the use of container gardens.

A container garden refers to the growing of plants—flowers or vegetables—in containers rather than directly in the ground. They can often be more convenient for someone new to gardening or folks who don’t have a great deal of time to devote to it because they can be located right outside the door on the deck or patio which makes the chore of daily watering relatively easy. Also, having plants confined to pre-defined containers can keep a gardening project from getting out of hand. And having even a small container garden can offset grocery expenses by providing vegetables for summer meals or flowers for our centerpieces that we don’t have to purchase at high prices. Plus, the feeling that comes from eating something you grew yourself or enjoying the scent of a flower you planted on your own can’t be compared to anything that is bought in a store.

Growing a container garden is really pretty simple, even for those of us who wouldn’t know a green thumb if poked us in the eye. Keep these simple tips in mind if you choose to try starting your own.

  • The potting soil is important, but not enough to spend time creating your own soil mixtures. Lots of gardening resources will provide you with various recipes for the perfect soil in which to sow your seeds, and many of them are truly wonderful. But for the part-time deck or porch gardener, it’s not worth the time and expense to experiment with different ones because pre-packaged potting soil is usually quite good and very cost effective. Unless you are going to start your own greenhouse, pass on those soil recipes and purchase a professional blend that takes the guess work completely out of it. 
  • Be sure to choose the right kind of plants. If you want to harvest vegetables, make sure the seeds you purchase are for the season during which you intend to harvest them. If you want greenery or flowers, check to ensure that the plants’ needs match your environmental conditions. For instance, if your deck gets direct sun most of the day, make sure you choose a plant that doesn’t crave the shade. 
  • Consider a “top dressing” for your soil once you have planted the seeds. A common top dressing is mulch with fertilizer that will cover the top of the container bed. This allows the plant to keep as much moisture near the roots as possible. 
  • Be vigilant about maintenance. Make sure you know how much water your flowers or vegetables need. And be sure to water them accordingly. 

You don’t have to be a horticultural expert to produce beautiful flowers or edible vegetables this summer. All you need are a few containers, a couple packets of seeds, and a tiny bit of know-how. Louisville homes are sprucing up this summer with container gardens. Shouldn’t yours be one of them?

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Louisville Home Owners As Derby Hosts and Hostesses

Many Louisville home owners will be watching this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. Some will wear their best suits, summer dresses, high heels, and Derby hats on Millionaires Row while others will be in shorts and tee-shirts in the infield. But a lot of us will be at home this Saturday watching the Run for the Roses on TV with friends around. Derby parties here run the gamut from backyard barbeques with cold beer and horseshoes to high-dollar black tie galas complete with caviar, pâté, and celebrity sightings. Either way, a Derby party is the best way to celebrate the pinnacle event in thoroughbred racing without actually being at the track.

Hosting a Derby party can be a daunting experience, especially if you don’t know how to apply a theme to your party in ways that are fun without being over-the-top. Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do that will ensure that this Saturday’s Derby-themed shin-dig will actually make your guests glad they didn’t make it to the Downs!

     • Think about having a race pool ready when your guests arrive. Every Derby Day, the Courier-Journal prints a list of the horses racing in large type so that they can be cut out for those purpose at home. Ask your guests to throw in a couple bucks for each horse they draw. Having a horse to pull for in the race makes it all the more fun! You might consider having a loser’s pot too where the person who draws the horse who finishes last gets his/her bet back. If your crowd doesn’t like to bet money, that’s no problem at all - you can still have everyone choose a horse. Some Derby parties that start early in the afternoon have pools on all the races that run during the day, not just the big one that goes off on the first Saturday in May each year around 6:00 p.m. 

     • Even if a mint julep isn’t your drink of choice the other 364 days of the year, it’s fun to serve this classic cocktail on Derby Day. A drink made of only three ingredients - bourbon, mint, and sugar - sounds hard to mess up, but unfortunately, people often do. And a bad mint julep is, well, really bad. But you can make sure the ones you serve will have folks coming back for more by closely following good directions for this famous drink. Click here for a sure-fire recipe. 

     • Don’t even think about serving those mint juleps in plastic cups. Only traditional mint julep glasses will do. These sterling silver or silver plated glasses will add an air of elegance to any gathering, and they are must-haves at Derby parties. But they don’t just have to be used only to serve the drink after which they are named. They also make wonderful small vases for fresh spring flowers that can be used all year round. 

     • Don’t forget about the “other” Derby glasses. For well over a hundred years, a commemorative Derby glass featuring a unique design and the list of all of the past winners on it is issued annually, and party hosts and hostesses can buy them almost anywhere in town. Many long-time Louisvillians have quite a collection of these glasses and serve drinks in them each year on Derby Day. 

The great thing about a Derby party is that it comes with a ready-made theme. By simply using a few of these easy party tips, Louisville home owners will turn what might otherwise be a ho-hum Saturday get-together into a fun and memorable Derby event. What better way could there be to experience the greatest two minutes in sports?