From inception to completion, a three-decade labor of love
- Between 1974-1999, Hal Warheim acquired six adjacent parcels of land to form a single unified area. The final piece of the puzzle came in 1999 with the acquisition of a small strip of land from one of the residences on Overlook Terrace to give the once landlocked parcel street access.
- From 1994-2000, the site was cleared of dead and rotting trees, impenetrable brush and trash. Hal did much of the work himself, with a machete, chain saw and chipper.
- From 1997- 1999 site visits and consultations were made with a host of individuals and organizations such as Metro Parks, Bernheim Forest, Community Foundation of Louisville, Jefferson County Environmental Trust, Louisville Development Authority, landscape designers, and horticulturists to estimate the land’s possibility and desirability as a park.
- Neighborhood surveys were taken to determine support for the park.
- In December 1999, a trust agreement was made to the Community Foundation of Louisville for parkland and funds to endow maintenance, and Hal retained a real estate attorney to negotiate with a charitable or public agency regarding entrusting the land.
- In December 1999, Michael Smiley of Environs Inc. was employed along with Paul Capiello of Bernheim Forest to design and supervise the construction of the park. The detailed designs were completed in 2000.
- April 2000 Metro Parks says it’s possible for the City to accept ownership of the land.
- April 2000-September 2000, Hal employs attorneys to negotiate and draft trustee agreements between himself, Metro Parks and Community Foundation of Louisville.
- 2000-2001 were crucial, difficult years for the park, as it appeared at times that the project was frustrated to the point of being defunct. Metro Parks would not accept title to the property stating it was not within its primary mission, and without a charitable or public trustee, it could not continue. With the help of Alderman Bill Allison, the negotiations resumed and he eventually generated a “Gift Agreement” between Hal Warheim and the City of Louisville.
- In November, 2001, Hal and the Community Foundation of Louisville entered into an agreement regarding a donor advised endowment fund to support the park.
- In November, 2001 - the founding board of directors was appointed.
June, 2002, Hal transfers title of the property to the City of Louisville and deposits funds for the construction of the park to Community Foundation of Louisville
On August 13, 2003, the groundbreaking ceremony is held in the park. Construction is scheduled to begin that month.
In response to a number of neighborhood opponents to the park, the directors visited a number of small parks around the city interviewing residents regarding their experiences and problems, and results undermine any “worse case scenario” fears. They continually meet with neighborhood opponents to keep communication open, though construction is delayed until spring 2004.
Construction begins in April, 2004.
On October 2, 2004 the park was ready for use and opened with a celebration, with opening remarks buy Hal Warheim, President of the board, and Jocelyn Warren, Vice President. The event was emceed by Metro Councilman Tom Owen.
2004-2005 focused on a fundraising campaign to pay for all construction costs, and continued improvement work was done on the park.
In 2012, LEO Weekly Magazine named Hal Warheim Park “Best Secret Park”. In addition, Hal Warheim Park received Belknap Neighborhood Association’s Blossom Award for outstanding service and commitment, and the Fred Wiche Award for environmental initiative.
In 2013-2014, when storms damage and fell three large trees, sculptor Joe Autry is commissioned to create sculptures in the park. Gracing the park is now the totem sculpture, owl, bridge troll and sunflower serpent.
On October 19, 2014, Hal Warheim Park celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a big park and block party celebration, with music, food and entertainment for children.
In 2015, Warheim Park Association becomes a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.