West Louisville track and field development gets major financial boost

West Louisville track and field development gets major financial boost
This is the proposed track and field facility for west Louisville. (Source: WAVE)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A gift given to the Louisville Urban League is making the dream of a state-of-the-art track facility in west Louisville a reality.

It began with a dream dubbed “the track on Ali." Now, thanks to major fundraising, the $35 million Sports and Learning Complex dream is one step closer to moving dirt.

Gift brings west Louisville track facility $3 million closer to reality

"We need to create something that draws others in,” Sadiqa Reynolds, Louisville Urban League President and CEO, said.

Her economic driver for Louisville’s Russell neighborhood is a 4,500 seat indoor track and field facility, with training areas, an outdoor track and a learning complex. She said it would bring in visitors from across the city and beyond to compete, as it would be capable of hosting USA Track and Field events. The facility would be located at 30th and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Reynolds and civic leader Stephen Reily had a vision to give west Louisville residents a start at a better quality of life -- something to be proud of, something more than a brown, contaminated, 24-acre lot in their neighborhood.

The announcement Monday of a $3 million gift from the James Graham Brown Foundation nearly took her breath away.

“When somebody calls you and tells you you’re going to get $3 million,” Reynolds said, “the level of love, I’ve never known this kind of love before.”

“Mr. Brown directed us to do things that will create a public image of our city and our state that makes its citizens proud," Mason Rummel, of the James Graham Brown Foundation, said of the gift.

Reily credited Reynolds for rapid fundraising. With the city’s help, and help from citizens like Alice Houston and Junior Bridgeman, David Jones Jr. and many others, she’s up to $17 million.

“It is not cheap to develop a 24-acre brown field in the middle of urban Louisville," Reily said.

Reily and his wife Emily Bingham offered to donate another $250,000 if Reynolds can raise an additional $3 million by December 31, 2018.

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.