Louisville Magazine

JUN 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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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 6.19 71 dipped by 2 percent. (White households now make up about 40 percent of the population, with black households totaling 51 percent.) Married households increased by 60 percent. One afternoon I meet Ron Bailey, a 45-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch former college basketball player who grew up in the neighborhood in the '80s and '90s. He points to the park a few blocks away. "†at's where I made my name," he says, referring to his years playing on the court there. Bailey now lives in Louisiana but on this day is back in Shelby Park catching up with his mom and cousin on his mom's porch. He sips a Bud Ice and says that Shelby Park still feels like home, though it has changed. "Don't take this the wrong way, but it seems like there are more uppity white folks moving in," he says. "I thought of this as the 'hood growing up. Not in a bad way. †e 'hood is beautiful." His mom looks at him sideways. "My neighbors aren't uppity! I love my neighbors," she says, referring to the newcomers who surround her. "It just seems like people who may have only come to Louisville for Derby are now moving in," Bailey says. ("More upper class" is how another resident put it.) Bailey's cousin, who also grew up in the neighborhood, stares out at the tree-lined street. "Well, I think that's a big accomplishment," she says, adding a proud nod. For nearly three weeks, I walk the neighborhood. "It's a beautiful place," a woman with silvery-blond hair says one afternoon, raving about the maple trees in the park that rust gloriously come autumn. And don't miss Oak Street during Derby season, when the dogwoods christen spring in pink and white. In the mornings, a burnt-toast smell visits, likely from a neighborhood co•ee roaster. And after a rain, on the west side of East Ormsby, a phantom "cat pee" smell arrives. Nobody — not MSD, not the Air Pollution Control District, not LMPD — can crack the mystery. I talk to more than 30 residents. †ere's excitement, a feeling of: It's about damn time. In 2010, the number of vacant homes in Shelby Park totaled close to 400, with about a third of those considered "vacant and abandoned" due to neglect and dangerous conditions. A few of these properties remain magnets for squatters. One ivy-clad home on East Ormsby shelters a family of raccoons. "Everyone's always talking about žxing up the West End," one woman tells me, thankful to see revival in Shelby Park. †is transformation likely traces in part to Germantown's boom. As prices soar there, interest spills over the railroad tracks and into Shelby Park. In neighboring Smoketown, the renovation of the Sheppard Square public- housing complex into mixed-income housing has created its own orbit of activity. What's happening here — in Shelby Park, in Germantown, perhaps soon in Russell in west Louisville — is occurring all over the country: Once-thriving neighborhoods — which experienced signižcant disinvestment due to white ¡ight, urban renewal or the intrusion of an interstate — are popular again. Shelby Park neighborhood boundaries. Data journalist Joshua Poe contributed data analysis.

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