LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Louisville Urban League is moving forward with plans to turn a 24 acre vacant lot into a sports and learning complex.
The $35 million state-of-the-art complex is planned for 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville.
Tuesday night, Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds showed the community what the complex will look like for the first time.
“To be able to show these today, it just feels good,” Reynolds said.
The project includes an indoor track and field facility and an outdoor track and learning complex.
West Louisville natives like Mattie Jones are excited to see the support the project is getting.
“This will bring hope," Jones said. “It won’t be just a dream. The dream is becoming a reality, and when that happens that gives hope. That has restored some of our young people.”
Jones has lived in the same house in west Louisville for 57 years.
“I have seen the growth of west Louisville at one time and then I have seen it begin to die. And then I seen it die,” Jones said. “When I heard of the Urban League coming down to do some really constructive work to help rebuild west Louisville, I was like in church when you get so happy you get to shouting!”
The Louisville Urban League said the project still needs funding.
The city made a $10 million commitment for the project in June 2018.
With the city’s $65 million budget shortfall, Mayor Greg Fischer put a halt on projects like the sports and learning complex.
“We’re using that $10 million to leverage, you think about new market tax credits and also some donors,” Reynolds said. “We’ve had some local donors and had local foundations that have given and have done that with the understanding that the city was in as well."
Metro Council will vote on the budget on Thursday. Reynolds says she feels confident the city will follow through with their commitment.
“We just want to make sure the funding is secure," Reynolds said. "We have been told by several council members that we will be fine on Thursday. I think it’ll be fine. We’re not overly worried about that. Certainly not taking anything for granted, don’t want to minimize anything, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness around it.”
Reynolds and Jones both believe this complex will help change the view people have of west Louisville.
“This is really a catalyst for change," Reynolds said. "This is that magnet, that anchor that will bring other people into the community with disposable income that then leads to organic growth of other things.”
Jones added: “We are willing to get out and work and fight to rebuild our community. We’re going to take our community back.”
The clean up of the vacant lot is expected to start this summer.
Construction should start in late 2019. They are hoping to have the indoor and outdoor tracks complete by 2020.