Community banks fill funding gap for new Louisville Urban League Sports and Learning Center

Community banks fill funding gap for new Louisville Urban League Sports and Learning Center
The Louisville Urban League's Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center is a $53 million project that opened in February 2021.
The Louisville Urban League's Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center is a $53 million project that opened in February 2021. (Source: Louisville Urban League)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Urban League’s Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center is up and running, offering a game-changing project to West Louisville. But it almost wasn’t possible without a $10 million loan from nine community banks.

The Sports and Learning Center is a $53 million project. The Louisville Urban League raised $43 million, and say they had a verbal agreement with an opportunity zone investor for the rest but it fell through. $10 million stood in the way of the center bringing major opportunities to west Louisville.

Nine community banks - Republic Bank, Central Bank, Commonwealth Bank, L&N Federal Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Limestone Bank, Stock Yards Bank, WesBanco Bank and Wilson & Muir Bank - came together to fill the gap and offered a $10 million loan.

“While all of us are competitors, we are partners in making this game-changing project happen for the West End,” said Steve Trager, Republic Bank Chairman & CEO.

Although it puts them in multi-million dollar debt, Sadiqa Reynolds, President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, said she made a commitment to bring this opportunity to West Louisville.

“I was advised in March to stop the project,” Reynolds said. “An act of God, it’s a pandemic Sadiqa, you don’t need to go on. But this community has always been promised things that don’t turn into anything and I didn’t want to be a part of that.”

The center is already showing its worth in the West Louisville community. Reynolds said it’s booked through March.

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