Louisville Magazine

MAR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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82 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.19 NEIGHBORHOOD VOICES West Louisville residents weigh in on developmental changes underway in their community. WE Louisville Forward, the city's economic- development agency, recently released a report on the status of west Louisville. One bulleted line reads: "Ninth Street is being re-imagined as a welcoming gateway to west Louisville." While the beautification of Ninth Street itself could result in improved walkways and public green spaces, it's the success of what's happening beyond Ninth Street that can truly erase the so-called East End-West End divide. Some of the major west Louisville projects underway: a $28-million YMCA; $35 million for Waterfront Park Phase IV; a nearly $30-million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for mixed-income housing in place of the Beecher Terrace public-housing complex, part of nearly $187 million in public and private investment for the surrounding Russell neighborhood; the Louisville Urban League's $35-million multi-sport facility at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. After decades of disinvestment, letdown and struggle (with never- wavering pride and hope), the changes are garnering cheers, but also fear of gentrification. e current all-hands-on-deck holistic approach has a goal of tackling areas such as health, education, personal finance, infrastructure improvements, youth support and homeownership. It's an attempt to make this time different. But who will benefit financially, socially and otherwise after the fresh paint dries? e recently launched Russell: A Place of Promise and other groups — including the Louisville Urban League, Black Lives Matter, Vision Russell, churches and more — are keeping residents informed of and engaged in west Louisville's swift changes. How do homeowners hold on to their homes? How does a neighborhood ensure that the expected shops, restaurants and other amenities will fulfill the wants and needs of the community? e uncertainty has caught the attention of journalist Soledad O'Brien, who on her show Matter of Fact has begun tracking the city's progress in its west Louisville endeavors. For the following interviews, which have been edited for length and clarity, we enlisted the help of Marshae and Walter Smith. ey created their blog, West of Ninth, to share the voices and stories of west Louisville's nine neighborhoods, and for this assignment they asked folks: What has life been like west of Ninth? What is it like right now? And what could it be like in the future? — Mary Chellis Nelson "What we plan to do with this (house) is to rehab it and rent it back to two people who want to stay in the community, while raising the property value (for) people who live here. We're looking to take old gems like this, which have the bones, and make them new and modern and basically gentrify the neighborhood. What it really means to gentrify is to bring it up to middle-class standards. e bad connotation from it comes from big companies coming and building, buying blocks of land, tearing (buildings) down and putting up brand-new superstores. ese stores sell food that don't Kevin, Chickasaw owner of Jackson Recycle Homes

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