Food Port backers blasted at community meeting

Food Port backers blasted at community meeting
Wooldridge said she held the forum so residents could be informed before the upcoming zoning meeting Aug. 17. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Wooldridge said she held the forum so residents could be informed before the upcoming zoning meeting Aug. 17. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
District 3 Councilwoman Mary Woolridge (Source: WAVE 3 News)
District 3 Councilwoman Mary Woolridge (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Many times when it comes to proposed developments words like "green" and "home grown" are welcomed, but Thursday night talk of the West Louisville Food Port brought nothing but fireworks.

With shouts of "methane stinks" from protesters outside the front doors of the Louisville Urban League, it wasn't a good start for the people behind the non-profit Seed Capitol Kentucky.

Seed Capitol Kentucky are the folks who say they want to help transform west Louisville on a 24 acre site at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

[RELATED: Food port designed to transform a West Louisville area]

It's a $58 million urban agri-business renewable energy concept: Food based commerce, working with local farmers and giving neighbors new jobs. But some community members don't see it that way.

Kathleen Parks, the chair of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, told the crowd, "Twenty-five to 30 trucks coming into the community dumping garbage and waste in our community number one, is enough."

District 3 Councilwoman Mary Woolridge has no problem with the food port portion of the project, but has serious concerns about odors, increased traffic and specific issues with the methane digesters where food waste would be converted to methane gas to fuel the actual food port.

A second digester is planned for South 17th Street. Woolridge said she's worried about possible explosions that have happened at other plants.

"We deserve a little bit better in west Louisville than just to be a dumping ground," she said.

John Owen, the Vice President of the Portland Business Association, told the crowd his group does not support the project.

"You've got a non-profit corporation that's hiding in the guise of a non-profit working with the for-profits and it all stinks," he said.

The rowdy crowd feared it may be too late to stop the project. One woman shouted out, "Do you care that we don't want it?" 

Attorney Brian Zoeller represents Nature's Methane, the company that will build the anaerobic digesters. He tried to assure the crowd that the project is safe and good for the environment.

When Zoeller was asked about possible odors he said, "The process inside the building will generate odor, but we have systems designed to minimize that and keep the odor inside the building."

Developers said traffic shouldn't be a concern because it's already a zoned industrial area.

Woolridge said she held the forum so residents could be informed before the upcoming zoning meeting Aug. 17. She wants neighbors to take their concerns to Mayor Greg Fischer.

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