LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- It is one of Louisville's major streets, running north and south right through the heart of the city. Urban planners from out of town have some suggestions for improving Fourth Street from the Ohio River four miles south to Churchill Downs.
Louisville resident Charles Bell owns the 4th Street Food Mart at 4th and Oak Streets. He says his business is pretty good, but he has some concerns about the neighborhood where his store is located. "There are just too many vacant buildings around here, way too many," he says.
Chris Riley agrees. "It is now a lot more difficult to meet your needs on foot," says Riley, "because there is not much retail or services nearby."
Riley is one of about a dozen members of the Urban Land Institute with offices in Washington D.C. They have been in Louisville this week studying the good and bad things about the four mile stretch of 4th Street. "In fact," says Riley, "that particular corner has become a sore spot for many, it presents a real bleak appearance."
Other problems along 4th Street include train underpasses that discourage pedestrians from walking in the area.
But there are many features about 4th Street in which to build on to make some major improvements, according to the planners.
Frank Fuller named a few: "Fourth Street Live, educational institutions like U of L and Spalding University that work together, Old Louisville and its beautiful homes, and of course Churchill Downs," says Fuller.
Some other suggestions include improvements to mass transit service, if not long-term street cars, than better and unique buses, a bike path between U of L and Spalding, and the closing of 4th Street for more urban fairs and events.
Louisville's chief executive says the city will take a look at all of the recommendations.
"I love it when they say its like a string of pearls along 4th Street," says Mayor Greg Fischer." We know that as a community but there are some areas that need fixing and our job is to figure out we can close those gaps."
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