Housing Authority to purchase Smoketown liquor store - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Housing Authority to purchase Smoketown liquor store

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The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is in the process of purchasing the Clay Street Liquor Store, which they say is a problem for the Smoketown neighborhood. The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is in the process of purchasing the Clay Street Liquor Store, which they say is a problem for the Smoketown neighborhood.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sheppard Square is almost ready for its first tenants to move back in. And Metro Housing officials believe the department's next move will drastically reduce the amount of crime in the area.

Right now, the Louisville Metro Housing Authority is in the process of purchasing the Clay Street Liquor Store.

For years, authorities have said the Clay Street Liquor store is Smoketown's "problem child."

"We did make a lot of runs there," said Major Kim Kraeszig, with LMPD's 4th Division. "We took a zero tolerance on it because you want to keep quality of life issues in check for the neighborhood."

And that keeps officers busy, according to Major Kraeszig. "What we were dealing with was irresponsible people that would go in and purchase alcohol and then they would come outside and they would get intoxicated and they would loiter and congregate on the premises."

There are at least two "no loitering" signs clearly posted outside the store, but as WDRB noticed, the signs are not getting the job done.

"It has been a problem property for quite some time," said Tim Barry, Executive Director of Louisville Metro Housing Authority. "We know that there have been numerous problems and complaints over the years about that establishment."

Barry says the purchase of the liquor store is all but a done deal. "We have don't that in the past with Hope VI projects - to purchase problem properties, including liquor stores."

Barry says it is all part of the Sheppard Square Hope VI revitalization project.

"The first block --- block B, the first part is nearly complete; that's 60 units and five buildings and people will probably start moving in by the end of the month."

The goal is to clean up the area and reduce crime before the project is finished.

"It is not like they're purchasing it and going home," said Major Kraeszig.

Both housing officials and police feel confident things will improve once the liquor store is gone.

"I think what it will be able for us to do is to concentrate on other areas that may need to be addressed without having to constantly make repeat runs to a certain location," Kraeszig said.

The goal is for Sheppard Square to be finished by this time next year. Right now, there's still no decision on what will replace the liquor store.

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