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For Frederick Law Olmsted, scenery must contain either “considerable complexity of light and shadow near the eye, or obscurity of detail further away.”



January 17, 2017

RMK PhotoWe are please to announce Rachel Kennedy, a national leader in the advocacy, planning and preservation of historic sites and landscapes, will be our next President and CEO.

Rachel has spent 16 years in leadership roles in governmental and nonprofit sectors working with donors, staffs, volunteers and elected officials to preserve, protect, educate and market important historic and cultural landscapes. She joins the Conservancy from her current position with the Kentucky Historic Preservation Office where she is Manager of Kentucky Heritage Council’s Historic Sites Survey. In that position, she worked with communities across the Commonwealth to evaluate and protect historic places and buildings, including, in Louisville, two Olmsted Park projects involving Shawnee and Victory Parks.

Prior to joining the Historic Preservation Office, Rachel was executive director of Preservation Kentucky, Inc., a non-profit where she worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the State Historic Preservation Office to evaluate historical sites for listing.

“Rachel will bring great enthusiasm for the mission of Olmsted Parks Conservancy and a commitment to advocacy for the Olmsted Parks,” stated Earl Jones, Olmsted Parks Conservancy Board Chair.

Rachel arrives just as the Conservancy completes a $11.6 million campaign, raising funds for investments in Olmsted Park projects throughout Metro Louisville. Private funds are needed to fill the gap in the City’s Metro Parks & Recreation budget. Since 1989, Conservancy donors have invested more than $35 million to keep these valuable community assets at a high standard.

“I can think of few greater historic/cultural landscapes across our Commonwealth than the work of Frederick Law Olmsted and Olmsted Brothers in Louisville—who were essential to the development of Louisville’s world-class park and parkways system,” stated Rachel,  “I can also think of no better challenge than the distinction of working to help our community protect, preserve, and participate in the Olmsted Parks system.

Rachel lives in the Germantown neighborhood. She attended the University of Kentucky where she received both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Historic Preservation. She has served as adjunct faculty for the University of Kentucky and Jefferson Community and Technical College, where she currently works with students in the Samuel Plato Academy for Historic Preservation Trades. She currently serves on Mayor Fischer’s Historic Preservation Advisory Task Force and also serves on the Board of Directors of Louisville Historical League. She is an active bicyclist and has created local and statewide bicycle tours to raise funds for historic preservation.

Rachel replaces Mimi Zinniel who announced her plan to retire October, 2016, after serving as President/CEO since 2007.

We all look forward to Rachel’s arrive at the office on February 8.