Cole’s Place reopens to host community conversation on gun violence

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:58 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 12:39 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Shootings branded it a public nuisance, and the City of Louisville ordered it to shut down. But on Thursday, Cole’s Place reopened its doors to host a community conversation on gun violence and the American Rescue Plan.

The meeting was called by community activist Neal Robertson as a way to educate people in west Louisville about the ARP and organize community ideas on how the city could best use the money.

In total, Louisville will receive $388 million in ARP funds.

“[We need] affordable housing, [to] beautify our communities, training facilities,” Robertson said when asked where the ARP dollars should be sent. “Where the school can’t do certain things, we can do it through after school programs.”

Robertson said his plan was to take the ideas discussed at the meeting and present them to members of Metro Council at the next ARP public forum.

At times, the conversation became passionate and often touched on Louisville’s record-breaking gun violence.

“These kids, three years old, 16, 15, and we’re going to stand there and say nothing,” Teresa Miller said to the group.

Miller’s niece, 16-year-old Nylah Linear, was among three teens shot on Cecil Avenue in the Shawnee neighborhood. Lanier and 16-year-girl Michelle Moore died from their injuries. Another boy received injuries that are not expected to be life threatening.

Miller attended the meeting begging for help from the community, frustrated by the pain her family has felt.

“I hear people say Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter,” Miller said. “Do they matter to Black people? Do they matter to Black people? C’mon now we’ve got to do something.”

Cole’s Place has been the subject of notoriety for years. Since 2015, there have been four homicides and 15 total people shot at or near the business.

Earlier in July, Metro Codes and Regulations issued an order to vacate, claiming the business was a public nuisance, after a report of an assault on June 15th. Cold told WAVE 3 News the incident never happened, because the bar had been closed since June 6. He said there have been no special events or private parties since then either.

Because of that discrepancy, Cole is appealing the mandate, thus allowing him to reopen his business temporarily.

He said Thursday’s conversation showed a side of the bar that has always been there.

“We’ve always been the solution,” Cole said. “This place stands for more than just a club or event center. It’s used for numerous of things.”

The next public forum to discuss ARP funding will be held Monday, July 26 at 6 p.m. at West Broadway Church of Christ. There will be 24 five minute speaking slots available for the public.

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