LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A press conference for a $35 million sports complex was anything but that Tuesday in West Louisville.
The event turned into a major fundraiser and a little bit of a church service as stories told at the mic moved people to donate in an attempt to make real change at 30th and Muhammad Ali, in West Louisville.
“This is about changing the outcome,” said Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds. “This is about investing in hope in a community and this community deserves this!”
In one year, Reynolds, with the help and advice of Louisville sports and business leaders like Alice and Wade Houston and Junior Bridgeman, raised 18.6 million dollars with the “Run with Us” campaign and hashtag.
“I think this facility is going to be great and it’s getting kids off the street," Cameron, a runner, said.
With the help of stars like UofL legend Darrell Griffith, the reality of need in west Louisville became crystal clear.
In a video of kids running inside, Reynolds tells the public, "You have young people, who are practicing in the hallways of their schools." She told the crowd phase one of a dream for a
state-of-the-art 4,500 seat track and field complex with the ability to host NCAA events had come true. She promised phase 2 and told those in attendance, athletes from across the country will see what 24 contaminated acres of eyesore can become.
It inspired David Jones Jr. to match every $5,000 seat sold up to $100 thousand.
The crowd was also inspired to give. One by one, from Mayor Greg Fischer, to Congressman John Yarmuth, to Senator Gerald Neal to the Louisville Sports Commission’s Karl Schmitt, community leaders stepped up.
Several minutes later, Reynolds announced,"$190 thousand, but with the match we have raised $290 thousand today!"
The crowd cheered. The Goodwin brothers, both track coaches and athletes, were overwhelmed.
“It will be awesome to a place you can come to consistently,” said former athlete, Chris Goodwin said.
“It’s major, it’s something most of us probably didn’t think we would see in our lifetime,” track coach Donald Goodwin said.
“This was the best press conference in the history of press conferences," Reynolds said. “Thank you, thank you, Louisville!”
Nearly $300,000 was given in a matter of minutes.
The city pledged $10 million to the project last year and it’s one of the few projects the Metro Council kept after budget cuts.
Still phase two will need millions more to be built. Phase one should open next year.