Urban renewal project to reconnect west Louisville to downtown - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Urban renewal project to reconnect west Louisville to downtown

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Jefferson Street west of 9th Street looking toward downtown. Jefferson Street west of 9th Street looking toward downtown.
Sam Watkins, Jr. Sam Watkins, Jr.
Dan Crutcher Dan Crutcher
Martina Kunnecke Martina Kunnecke

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Members of Louisville Central Community Centers (LCCC) have a dream for a better west Louisville. Thursday morning, board members announced that dream was on its way to becoming a reality.

During a press conference inside the Old Walnut Street Atrium, a $10 million revitalization effort by the LCCC, organization president & CEO Sam Watkins Jr. unveiled plans for a massive urban renewal project: the Boulevard West of Ninth.

"Essentially the mayor has asked for bold, large visions for this city," said LCCC Board Chair Dan Crutcher. "We are presenting him one that we think would go a long way towards beginning the revitalization of West Louisville."

Crutcher said under the lead of Watkins, members of the LCCC board took that directive and ran with it. Now ideas for a modernized Muhammad Ali corridor stretching between 9th and 21st streets are the result.

"It includes commercial buildings. It includes small business," began Crutcher. "It includes mixed income residential. It includes recreational areas, parks."

Crutcher said the goal of the revitalization effort is to knock down the figurative "wall at Ninth Street," to reconnect west Louisville socially and economically to the city's center.

"The community, they see Ninth Street as a dividing line between downtown and West Louisville," said Crutcher. "That's the 'wall' we're trying to break through with this project by creating a strip of commercial vitality."

Not everyone was on board with the idea.

"When you hear about it, it sounds, 'oh, that's really great,' but when we saw the plans we saw that this was yet another way to suburbanize an urban community," said Martina Kunnecke, Neighborhood Planning and Preservation President.

Kunnecke expressed concerns the revitalization would not lead to more local jobs.

"What we see today still indicates that the locust of economic control still remains outside of west Louisville," began Kunnecke.

Project stakeholders said those are all things to be considered, adding that there will be plenty of time to examine all elements of the project.

"I would like to see in four or five years," began Crutcher, "this starting to develop. The development is going to take ten, twenty years perhaps, if it's completed."

Project leaders closed the press conference by expressing a desire for community input. Two community discussion meetings will be held at the Old Walnut Street Atrium located at 1300 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The meetings will take place on Tuesday, November 12 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, November 14 at 5 p.m.

For more information about the LCCC, click here.

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