Portland neighborhood assn. fights to save rundown bar - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Portland neighborhood assn. fights to save rundown bar

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- It's an old bar so run down that even the former owner fears it may fall down -- but a Portland neighborhood association is fighting to save the property from being wiped away.

It has the Louisville Metro Council taking action that it never has before.  Inside the old Cavalier Inn, paint peels from the walls, electrical wires dangle from an exposed ceiling, and forgotten signs tell you what used to be.

The property at the corner of 26th and Market was the original clubhouse of the Cavalier motorcycle group.  Clyde Bowman, one of its original members, ran the bar until six months ago:  "They told me they were going to sell it and I was going to have to, you know, get out."

Bowman owns the business, but he does not own the building, and developer Steve Miller has new plans for a Family Dollar store.  "It'd be nice to fix it and save it," Bowman says.

Bowman's neighbors with the group Portland Now agreed.  They petitioned and received a historical landmark designation on the property against the owner's will.  It stops the planned development.

Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton, when asked whether the council has the authority to overturn that landmark designation, responds, "Yes."  But does she feel it should be overturned?  "I am trying to maintain a neutral position on the matter."

Thursday night the Metro Council is taking up the issue at Councilwoman Bryant-Hamilton's request. 

Critics say she's going against the wishes of the district and that the neighborhood does not need another Dollar Store.  They'd like to see the building redeveloped into apartments or something that fits the design of the neighborhood.

The bricks on the back of the building are crumbling and starting to fall, and a good wind could knock off the mortar.

Bowman has since moved his bar around the corner, but as one of the last surviving members of this group, he says the soul of the Cavalier Inn is there.

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