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 81 with a plume of white hair and a quick wit — "I'm old. I don't need anything but a roof over my head and a sandwich" — has lived here for 32 years. Walk into her modest brick home and get comfy. She has dedicated a mantle to her twin boys and daughter, whom she raised mostly as a single mother. She's proud, with plenty of stories to prove why. As we're talking one day, she mentions that she's surprised her phone hasn't rung. She gets frequent calls from investors, text messages too. She gets iers in her mailbox and knocks on the door. I hear this story from many older residents. A couple times, despite identifying myself as a writer, residents remain suspicious. "Are you part of a land-management company? Do you ip houses?" one man holding a small dog in an infant onesie asks me. Nichols, who spent years working at the phone company, is fed up. "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," Nichols says. "I've struggled too hard and too long . . .I don't care what you do, but don't let this get out of this family." It's a sentiment Barbara Smith shares. One afternoon she invites me to her brick courtyard, a space †t for gnomes. ‡ere are stacks of clay planting pots, an antique table and a gaggle of cats †ddling under a tree that oˆers protective shade, a leafy hoop skirt to those below. Smith, who is 68, moved to the neighborhood about four years ago with her daughter. Smith was heavily involved in the pre- NuLu renovation of East Market Street back in the '80s, along with Billy Hertz, a well-respected artist and fellow Shelby Park resident, having relocated his gallery and home to Preston Street in 2008 once, as he puts it, "too many ladies from the East End" started poking their heads into his gallery and posing inquires like: "Do you have any pretty things here?" Over the decades, Smith watched as what she'd hoped would be an arts district on East Market turned into something trendy and retail-y. She says longtime residents moved on to make way. A few years ago, Smith regularly noticed an old, weathered man shu–ing down her Shelby Park street to JR's bar. He'd buy a candy bar and a beer and shu–e home. "He struck me as the kind of person we don't want to force out of the neighborhood," Smith says. JR's closed last year. Many neighbors cheered, citing frequent violence there. ‡e developer, Chris ‡omas, who bought the building along with the duplex next door, hopes to bring a family-friendly restaurant to the space (maybe "tacos or street food," he says) and adds that he gave †nancial assistance to tenants who moved out of the apartments located in the buildings. Smith still wonders what happened to the old man, whose daily commute ceased. Perhaps he's no longer around. "You know, how people make money intrigues me endlessly," Smith says, pausing. "Why am I opposed to people making money oˆ this neighborhood when all commerce is based on that same premise?" She oˆers an example: Someone goes into Walmart, buys a toy; someone makes money oˆ the sale. Why does it feel uncomfortable when the equation involves people and property? Real estate has long been the greatest way to build wealth. (In Louisville, 70 percent of white households own their home, compared to 36 percent of black families.) Smith sighs, still pondering the tension. "It's something I just haven't †gured out yet." ‡ere's no single catalyst that ignited Shelby Park. But Sojourn Community Church's move from Germantown to Shelby Park in 2012 marks a pivotal moment. One morning I meet a Sojourn pastor named Nathan Sloan at the church. ‡e marble and statues of St. Vincent de Paul have left, making way for a drum kit, amps and art that re ects biblical themes. In the lobby, Sojourn's mission is brightly painted in yellow and orange: Reach people with the gospel. Build them up as a church. Send them into the world. Sloan says Sojourn's decision to move to Shelby Park was partly due to its desire to become more ethnically diverse. "Show the beauty of all God's people," he says. By his count, about a dozen families chose to relocate to Shelby Park when the church moved in an eˆort¥to "love and care for their neighbors." Sojourn, which is a Southern Baptist church, hosts free medical and dental clinics, as well as neighborhood festivals. Sloan says Sojourn's membership hasn't grown drastically since moving to Shelby Park (about 1,400 across three Sunday services), but the impact is felt. Betty Kolb says the †rst few times she saw families trekking to church, it dusted oˆ memories. "It reminded me of when I was little because we all belonged to St. Vincent's," she says. Sojourn isn't the only church in the neighborhood, not even the only Baptist church. So maybe it shouldn't catch my attention when a resident who has just †nished a bike ride with his kids tells me he loves Shelby Park because, "We've felt the light of Christ here." Erin Hinson, a Shelby Park resident who was the legislative aide for former Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet, says that after sitting through endless city meetings, she decided that government could only do so much to remedy crime and vacancies. So she packed her two young sons and husband to move from St. Matthews to Shelby Park. ‡e family rents but plans to buy. "Improvement requires neighbors loving neighbors," Hinson says. Sometimes that means mowing a neighbor's lawn or oˆering mischievous teens snacks and a chat instead of calling the police. Hinson's mom describes her daughter's Shelby Park journey as a "calling from God." A few years ago, Sojourn recruited missionaries to live and work in Shelby Park, and some have decided to stick around long-term. ‡at program grew into its own nonpro†t separate from the church. Sojourn's lasting legacy may lie in its ripple eˆect, in its members who have started their own Shelby Park-based organizations, the biggest being Access Ventures Inc., a nonpro†t created by former Sojourn pastor Bryce Butler. Started in 2014, Access Ventures has invested in 14 residential properties (including six apartments) and four commercial properties. "AV," as Butler calls it, has a wide portfolio, with stakes in everything from micro-lending to blockchain crypto currency to companies that seek to provide socially conscious investing opportunities. Butler says any returns on investments go into an endowment for ongoing projects. Access Ventures has provided hard-to- get small business loans to Shelby Park businesses like Idlewild Butter y Farm, Good Folks Coˆee and Scarlet's Bakery, a bakery opened by a Sojourn member with the mission of providing jobs and skills to women working in the sex industry. Without Access Ventures, Shelby Park's commercial corridor would look far diˆerent. Headquartered on Shelby

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