LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - By late summer, work will begin on a project gaining international attention that promises to transform several neighborhoods in West Louisville.
The area is a 24-acre brown field on 30th Street between Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Market Street. The field will be transformed into a seed-to-waste food chain, where food is grown, harvested, processed, sold, eaten, even disposed of into a bio-digester that will convert waste into methane gas for energy usage. The West Louisville Food Port is designed to offer those services, and, most importantly for this area, jobs.
Mike White is the President and CEO of AFF Incorporated, known to locals as America's Finest Filters. He is enthusiastic about the proposed development.
"To have something like the Food Port come in with multiple businesses, food access, fresh food access, I find that to be amazing." said Mike White.
Stephen Reilly heads Seed Capital Kentucky, the group behind the plan. Working with the community, designers worked to come up with a development that will positively impact the Russell, Shawnee, and Portland areas.
"The number one thing people say they want is jobs," he said. "And we're going to be bringing really good wage jobs here that can actually be filled by people from the neighborhoods that surround the site. That, and just simply a more livable community."
"We'll have a plaza where Jefferson Street ends at the site, where food trucks come where there can be concerts, community gatherings at the busiest corner at Market Street." Reilly continued.
The $30 million project even caught the attention of Prince Charles during his visit to Louisville in March.
According to Reilly, "Prince Charles is excited. It's always nice to have an international visitor, a head of state interested in your project. The great thing is, he's excited for the same reason the people in the neighborhood are excited. They see this is transformative tool to lift up communities - it can be a model for other cities, other states. Maybe Prince Charles will see it as a model for England as well."
Groundbreaking is targeted for August or September, with the bio-digester going in first.