Beecher Terrace welcomes old residents into brand new units
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville’s Beecher Terrace housing complex is getting a second chance, and old residents are moving back in.
The original complex, which was built in 1939, was torn down in 2017 to replace the buildings with new apartment units. On Wednesday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the completion of the first two phases of the renovation project.
“This is a wonderful day,” Manfred Reid, chairman of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, said. “It’s so inspiring to be here, to be a part of, to be involved in, and to see the results of the city of Louisville, the residents of the Russell neighborhood, and most importantly our staff.”
The new complex has 640 units, including mixed-income rental and homeownership units.
“This transformation will enlighten our community to the highest level,” Reid said.
Mayor Greg Fischer said this project is a step in the right direction to help the West End recover from racist practices used in the past like redlining and urban renewal.
“One of our goals all along was to show America how we could regenerate a neighborhood without displacing the residents that lived here,” Fischer said. “They are the soul that builds this neighborhood and that would be the ultimate injustice.”
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Lamika Jordan lived in Beecher Terrace for 15 years, raising her six kids.
“Immediately, there was a feeling of community,” she said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She named multiple people who made it feel like a community over the years.
She was one of the hundreds of residents displaced when the buildings were torn down to begin construction, but she is back.
“I would say Beecher had its fair share of violence and I won’t speak any more on it because that’s our past, period,” she said.
The new units all have security systems and key fobs are used to get into the buildings and each unit.
“I’m glad to be back,” Jordan said. “I’m praying and hoping the community growing and thriving, improving, encouraging kids, lifting kids up. Lifting us in ourselves just to be better people and have a better safer neighborhood.”
State Senator Gerald Neal told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting that Beecher Terrace is personal to him — he was born there. He said he remembers Beecher Terrace growing up as a place full of families and aspirations.
“Beecher Terrace was a springboard for people who looked like me back in the day,” Neal said. “So when I see this and I see this iteration of Beecher Terrance, I see more than just brick and mortar. I see families. I see opportunity. I see an upgrade that reflects a dignity that’s associated with anyone’s life, or at least should be.”
Construction is still going on for phases three, four, and five. Those should be complete in 2023.
Construction on the Beecher Terrace apartment redevelopment began in June of 2019 and wrapped up in February 2021.
Wednesday’s celebration was after the completion of phases one and two. Phase One of the redevelopment finished in December 2020, with renovated housing for the 55 and up community. Phase 2 was focused on multifamily apartments.
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