Groups aim to revitalize West Louisville, decrease violence

Groups aim to revitalize West Louisville, decrease violence
West Louisville hopes rehabbing vacant homes will spark revitalization efforts.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -  West Louisville community members gathered to discuss revitalization on Saturday morning, just after two overnight shootings in the neighborhood.

Rev. Charles Elliott addressed a small gathering of community members at a planned meeting about vacant homes.

"I was just over on Duncan where a little black boy was killed last night," Elliott said. "Then, I was at Cole's Place. We're living in a troubled time."

Some who gathered at the 2600 block of Magazine Street Saturday morning said they feel the communities they've grown up in nearby are deteriorating.

"Our city is gone. It's gone," Cornelius Cotton, the business manager of Laborers Local 576, said. "It's not the same place it was, not at all. The killing, the murders and the jobs."

Faith leaders and legislators, who were at the event, said they're doing what they can to fix those issues.

Buzz of a generator and the pride of craftmanship will help create a renaissance in the West End, community leaders and lawmakers said. Rehabilitation of vacant properties will be a driving force behind revitalization efforts.

"It's something I ride and see every day," Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, District 5, said. "Another house is gone. Another property is boarded up."

To address that, Hamilton is teaming up with Elliott and the group 'Jesus and a Job.'

The organization has rehabilitated 18 homes in the city, four so far this year.

Group leaders said they're re-writing stories for old homes by giving construction and repair jobs to ex-felons who might otherwise turn to crime.

"They have to go out here and make the only living they can make," Cotton said. "We cannot blame them for that. They have to survive."

Not only do the newly developed skills offer a path to do that, but affordable housing will be created too, Hamilton said.

Heaven Hill and other community groups have helped fund the project. Unions and Labor groups have also lent a hand to help rehab some of the buildings.

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