LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new YMCA and a Passport Health Headquarters are set to transform the intersection of 18th Street and Broadway in Louisville, and are sparking new business in the area.
The site of the development sat empty for decades and the surrounding infrastructure faced challenges. A construction project turned the intersection into a direct path, which is way different than the broken street it was before.
“It’s a down payment, it certainly is in everything, and it’s long overdue,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
It’s a new sight for west Louisville -- progress on a promise of improvement.
“Any time you mention the West End people used to only think about the crime,” Babinta Koita, a business owner located across from the new YMCA, said. “If they build new buildings they might do more in the future.”
Koita said he was one of the only businesses located on the block across from the development in 2014. He said the excitement from the progress is catching on with a new barber shop and more stores moving in on Broadway.
“People put their guns away when they see roads coming in, they see businesses opening up, and they see people coming out and walking the streets,” Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-District 4) said.
Sexton Smith is proud of the progress happening in her district. The YMCA expects 200,000 visitors each year. Passport expects 750 employees to move into their new headquarters by 2020.
At Koita’s retail shop, he said that means lots of opportunities for walks ins that just don’t exist right now.
“I think it will make a lot of people come to the area and spend more money in the community,” Koita said.
The YMCA will be ready for tours by the spring, according to YMCA President and CEO Steve Tarver. It’s set to open to the public in the fall.