LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville student researchers are helping river towns use recreation to drive tourism and economic development.
As part of an honors class, a group of undergraduate students studied — through interviews, research and first-hand experience — how towns like New Albany, Clarksville and Jeffersonville, Indiana, benefit from and can better promote kayaking, concerts and other riverside activities.
They worked with the U.S. National Park Service – Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program to conduct river town reviews. The program’s team effort approach to looking with “fresh eyes on enhancing tourism and outdoor recreation” helped these communities explore how they can further realize the benefits of the Ohio River and the development of the 270 mile Ohio River Recreation Trail from Portsmouth, Ohio to West Point, Kentucky.
The results of the student’s research, including observations, models, maps and photos from their trips to the Ohio River Greenway, currently are on display at the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL). The exhibit, “River of Life: Cities and Towns Along the Mighty Ohio,” is expected to run through the summer.
The exhibit also spawned an offshoot project called “Ripple Effects: Exploring Water in Louisville.” That project began with a photo contest that asked kids in grades K-12 to capture their feelings about water on film. The goal is to learn more about youth attitudes toward water — what it means to them, its role in their everyday lives and how they engage with it.
Winners of the photo contest will be announced at Louisville Waterfront Park on June 21 and featured in another exhibit at LFPL this fall as part of the Louisville Photo Biennial.