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.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1123912

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Page 82 of 92

80 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 6.19 Many say they moved into Shelby Park because it's what they could aord — a logical decision. Somewhere along the way, momentum followed and others caught on. Longtime residents quickly took notice. "•ree or four years ago, everyone started •xing up their house. I was one of the only ones with -owers and plants. Now everyone else is planting too," a nearly 80-year-old woman tells me, tenderly saying, as if sharing a secret, that some of the renters who have moved out in the last few years were "just sort of trashy." One business owner put it more bluntly: "•e shit is moving out, the good people are moving in." One evening in the park, I meet Noel Deeb, a stay-at-home mother of four whose children play as if powered by the sun overhead. A member of Sojourn Community Church, Deeb is among a wave of church members who moved into the neighborhood about seven years ago, when Sojourn completed a $3.5-million renovation of the St. Vincent de Paul parish that closed in the early '90s. "We are literally calling members of our congregation to move . . . and engage the neighborhood residents into deep relationships," a former Sojourn pastor told WAVE 3 News. Deeb and her family actually pre-dated that call, moving in more than 10 years ago. She and her husband were baristas at the time, and Shelby Park, she says, was "what we could aord." •e beginning was tough, Deeb recalls. "When we •rst moved here, we were held at gunpoint in the backyard. Our house was broken into," she says, adding that, over the years, "We've known people who were murdered on our street." •ings are quieter now, she says. "Which is good, but it's sad to me," she says. "I've seen a bunch of our neighbors kicked out, people we've made relationships with have disappeared." During my time in Shelby Park, I meet three other residents who say their family or friends have had to relocate as property owners opt to sell, giving renters a 30-day notice to vacate or face eviction court. "It will be interesting to see what happens in a few years," Deeb says. "Is everyone going to be gone that used to be here?" If Mary Ann Nichols has it her way, the answer is: not over her dead body. And then even after that. She wants to write in her will that her home on Shelby Parkway can't leave the family. Nichols, in her 70s requiring layers of funding from grants, the government and even foundations, so that the cost of building and maintaining can be subsidized to the point of aordability. No surprise: Less and less money is available for such projects. Monahan and I drive around Shelby Park. We go past the Jackson Woods apartments, a bulky New Directions complex dating to the '70s that oers rentable housing to low-income earners. Right now, though, Monahan says, New Directions is focusing on homeownership in Shelby Park. •at's the group's charge, given that only about 23 percent of neighborhood residents own their homes. We head to St. Catherine Street to look at homes New Directions renovated in 2010. (New Directions has renovated a total of 18 properties in Shelby Park.) Monahan pulls in front of a brick, two- story home with a tidy front lawn. "We did six homes here on this block — two vacants, two burnouts, two empty lots," he says with play-by-play excitement. At the time, the federal government was freeing up money under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in an eort to combat the recession. Had those dollars not been available, and had New Directions not committed to the eort, Monahan says this block of St. Catherine would've likely stayed blighted. "•e private sector would've never done it. •ere's no money to be made," he says. "Someone's got to bite the bullet and take on major projects." We drive past a vacant house New Directions is •xing up known as "the castle," a fairytale of a home on Camp Street with a stone facade, arched doorways, a swaying weeping willow and boarded-up windows. We pause at a bulky bluish-gray home on Oak Street that's still being built. It's size and design — privacy fencing, detached garage, wide front porch — stand out among Shelby Park's mostly older, smaller homes. "Seven years ago if you would have told me that there were going to be new construction on Kentucky or Oak, I would've thought you were crazy," Monahan says. "All of a sudden, the private sector is all over the place, which is a good thing. It means we helped create the market. Before, it was basically a broken economy where you couldn't have gone in there, bought a house, •xed it up and sold it without losing your shirt." "We feel like they're trying to run us out, and we don't like that piece of it. I've told my kids not to sell this house," Mary Ann Nichols says.

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