Louisville Magazine

MAR 2017

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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62 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.17 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded Louisville a $29.5 million grant to transform the Russell neighborhood. What happens now? By Anne Marshall Choice on the Horizon At her restaurant, Sweet Peaches, owner Pam Haines sits by the window that looks out at 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Over her shoulder, her son drizzles caramel sauce onto warm pecan rolls. e friendly 52-year-old with copper hair is taking a break, gazing at the corner as she often does. "It's not pretty what I see," she says. "ere's hopelessness." Sometimes she spots disheveled men trekking to a day-labor spot just down the way. Sometimes it's folks who've just been let out of jail and have heard that Haines will feed them a free warm meal. (She always does.) Haines, who's planning to open a second Sweet Peaches location in Parkland, is ready to see more: clothing shops or kids heading to a neighborhood skate park or a book- store, maybe some of those oversized ornate flowerpots that dot sidewalks in trendy, bus- tling neighborhoods. e Choice Neighbor- hoods Initiative, or CNI, may achieve it. A CliffsNotes version of CNI: It's an updated version of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE VI project, the goal of which was to trans- form public housing into mixed-income developments. Now the focus is not just on replacing distressed public housing but also investing in and lifting up entire neighbor- hoods. In December, Mayor Greg Fischer beamed as he held a ceremonial $29.5 million check from HUD to revitalize the Russell neighborhood (bounded by Market and Ninth streets, I-264 to the west and Broadway). Haines says the Louisville Metro Housing Authority and Mayor Fischer seem deter- mined to make Russell — an area plagued by high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime — into a thriving community. (e crime rate in Russell is 2.8 times higher than the metro Louisville average; 60 percent of residents live in poverty; and 20 percent of housing units are vacant.) "e mayor's not playing about this part of town," Haines says.

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