Costly neighborhood revitalization plan moving forward over coun - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Costly neighborhood revitalization plan moving forward over councilman's objections

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So far the city has spent close to $4 million in taxpayer money to revitalize a neighborhood off Cane Run Road. (Source: WAVE 3 News) So far the city has spent close to $4 million in taxpayer money to revitalize a neighborhood off Cane Run Road. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The city director in charge of the project was forced to testify in front of the Metro Council after the council voted to freeze funding for the project. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The city director in charge of the project was forced to testify in front of the Metro Council after the council voted to freeze funding for the project. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A struggling and costly community redevelopment project in southwest Louisville will move forward over the objection of at least one Metro Council member.

So far the city has spent close to $4 million in taxpayer money to revitalize a neighborhood off Cane Run Road. The development, named Boxelder Crossing, has fallen far short of expectations. In early August the city director in charge of the project was forced to testify in front of the Metro Council after the council voted to freeze funding for the project until they got answers about why so much money has produced so few results.

[RELATED STORY: $3.5 million taxpayer revitalization project not so pretty

Neighborhood revitalization is supposed to look a lot nicer than the scene at Boxelder Crossing. Metro Councilman Jerry Miller has been the staunchest critic of Boxelder Crossing. At a budget committee hearing on August 7, Miller asked Virginia Peck, director of the Department of Community Services and Revitalization, to justify moving forward.

"I'm not sure I really see the future here, the future that you're trying to paint," said Miller, the District 19 representative.

[RELATED STORY: Metro Council freezes funding for embattled redevelopment

Peck told Miller the project is worth continuing to put more money into.

"I think it is to the neighbors that live out there, I think it is to the creation of additional affordable housing units," said Peck. "I think that it is to the deconcentration of poverty."

Louisville Metro has spent $3.8 million in taxpayer money on Boxelder Crossing. Most of it was mostly federal community block development grants. So far it hasn't developed much.

When we were out there in June, run down buildings towered over chest high grass across from a row of nine newly built homes. Five of the home are still empty.

"Why did we build $130,000 homes in an economically depressed area where the median value of the home there is $60 to $70,000?" asked Councilwoman Marilyn Parker (District 18).

Peck said walking away from Boxelder now wouldn't just be a disaster for the few that have moved in. She said the Department of Housing and Urban Development could eventually ask for its CBDG funding back if the project isn't completed.

Peck's plan is spend another $300,000 set aside in this year's budget to buy up those adjacent dilapidated apartment buildings and add them to the list of properties in the neighborhood the city plans to demolish. Peck hopes the city can eventually finding a private developer, possibly Habitat for Humanity, to build on the land. In the meantime, the city appears to be working to take better care of the undeveloped property - starting with finally mowing the grass.

"I want to see the project go through for a number of reasons," said Councilwoman Attica Scott (District 1). "Southwest Louisville is an area that is full of blight and has gone ignored for long enough."

Now that the Boxelder funding has been unfrozen by Metro Council, Peck hopes to have the next group of run down buildings torn down by late October. She then plans to work with the community to develop a small neighborhood plan by spring 2015.

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