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Louisville, KY (WDRB TV News) -- Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood is in for some big changes.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan came to Louisville on Monday to announce a $22 million federal grant that will be used to tear down the Sheppard Square public housing complex. Total cost of the project is estimated to be near $157 million.
It would be replaced by a combination of apartments and single family houses similar to the Liberty Green development near the downtown medical center.
Carolyn Turner has lived in Sheppard Square for almost 30 years. "To me, I think it's going to be a good thing to tear down and rebuild it," says Turner.
At Monday's announcement, Secretary Donovan mentioned the shooting death of a young boy killed at another public housing complex recently. "Let me say a word about Davian Powell, a three-year old boy who just over a week ago was killed by a stray bullet," said Donovan. "This tragedy reminds us we can no longer accept the status quo in our poorest neighborhoods."
It is hoped that the rebuilding of Sheppard Square will result in a ripple effect that will lead to millions of dollars in private investment not only in Smoketown but in adjacent neighborhoods like Shelby Park and Germantown.
There was concern expressed at the news conference about what happens to the current Sheppard Square residents. The Louisville Housing Authority says it will make sure that the residents have a place to go and can return if they want.
"Families who don't want to come back," says Housing Authority Director Tim Barry, "they can either get a Section 8 where they can choose housing in this community where ever they want or choose a scattered site unit."
I'm gonna move out, but if I can come back, I'm willing to do that," says Carolyn Turner.
The housing authority hopes to have everyone out by the end of the year and then work will begin at tearing down and rebuilding a new community.