LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - "I’m loving me some Beecher Terrace,” Metro Council member Barbara Sexton-Smith said amid the smiles and the shovels.
That enthusiasm was a far cry from what it was like years ago when I sat in a car at the Baxter Community Center at 12th and Cedar and recorded drug dealing, cash counting, and gun smuggling right out in broad daylight in the heart of Beecher Terrace.
At the time, Beecher Terrace was one of the top crime hot spots in the city. Four hours after I left that day, a man was shot to death right where I’d been parked.
“This isn’t helpful,” Christopher 2X told me at the time after watching my video. “I feel as though what this report will reveal, hopefully is an urgency of us to do our own internal cleansing.”
The internal cleansing didn’t happen. So the city and HUD are trying an external cleansing: bulldozing Beecher Terrace and building 620 mixed income rentals and 20 home ownership units with a $29 million neighborhood grant to be followed by $200 million in public and private investment.
"I think it's so amazing to sit here and look back at the city downtown from this spot, because when we started pounding on the HUD secretary to include us in this neighborhood program,” Congressman John Yarmuth said. “We kept stressing that this was the roadblock to tying the west part of Louisville to the rest of the city. This was the block. It was not very welcoming."
Mayor Greg Fischer’s office said over 400 households have moved from Beecher Terrace so far, and the 162 families still living there are in the process of relocating.
"We will now have not an obstacle to reuniting West Louisville and downtown, Yarmuth said. “We will have the gateway to West Louisville."
Fischer said he plans to be back there in the fall of 2020 to cut the ribbon on the first building: four stories and 117 units designated exclusively for those age 55 and older.