Metro Council committee asks more questions about redeveloping Elliott Ave.

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 12:57 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Members of Metro Council’s Government Oversight Committee asked city employees more questions about the issue of redeveloping Elliott Avenue on Tuesday night.

That issue was a key claim in an amended lawsuit in July that Breonna Taylor’s family filed against the city. The allegations in Taylor’s family lawsuit claimed the city wanted Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, out of a home on Elliott Avenue in order for new development to come in on the West End. It claims that investigation led officers to serve the warrant at Taylor’s home the night of the shooting. The attorneys claimed Glover was heavily targeted in order to evict him from the home so the city could purchase it.

Tuesday night, those who work in such planning told Metro Council committee members that claim is not true.

“There’s no actual development project here but what was in the lawsuit were renderings that were produced as part of a student project that was not in any way shape or form affiliated, sanctioned or commissioned by the city,” Jeff O’Brien, the director of Develop Louisville, said.

O’Brien said Tuesday night the city was aware of crime on the block and the vacant and abandoned houses for years. He said he learned in February that Elliot Avenue would be the focus of the Place Based Investigation Unit, a city effort created shortly before the raid that killed Taylor.

“We’ve heard allegations about what may or may not have happened, so our job is to find out of those allegations are true or not true,” Metro Council President David James said.

Council members argued there are other areas in the city with major crime and vacant property issues too. Councilman Anthony Piagentini asked O’Brien and Metro Codes and Regulations Director Robert Kirchdorfer what other areas of Louisville are being targeted in a similar way by the PBI or the city.

O’Brien said to his knowledge, there are none right now; Kirchdorfer agreed.

“I’m unaware of any, I don’t recall working with the PBI group with my staff on any other area other than the area around Elliott Avenue,” Kirchdorfer told councilmembers.

O’Brien and Kirchdorfer both said they worked with the PBI unit to help decrease crime on Elliott Avenue, not redevelop the street.

While councilmembers were able to ask several questions to Kirchdorfer and O’Brien, councilman Piagentini said they need more answers.

“There’s still a lot of questions about why [Elliott Avenue] was targeted,” Piagentini said. “What was the criteria that the administration used to pick that area to target? That is still completely unclear to me.”

In two weeks, the government oversight committee plans to talk to members of the Place Based Investigations Unit and other city employees, hoping to get more of those answers.

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