LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Louisville and Councilman David James on Tuesday announced plans to improve the area around Fourth and Oak Streets. It's a project to rejuvenate an historic Louisville intersection that has seen better days.

It's one of the busiest intersections in the center of the city. But if you drive by there you will surely notice a number of vacant storefronts. Too many as far as most nearby residents are concerned.

"One of the things I think we all can agree on is that we don't have enough commercial and retail restaurants in our neighborhood," Andrew Owen told a crowd gathered at the intersection to hear the announcement of the improvement plans from the city.

Owen is president of the Fourth and Oak Task Force that came up with recommendations on how to make improvements to the area.

Sixth District Metro Councilman David James announced that the city will spend $450,000 to make streetscape improvements on Oak Street between Garvin Place and Third Street.

"We have this great neighborhood," says James, "but we don't have the infrastructure to support the shops and businesses a neighborhood needs."

The improvements will include new sidewalks, improved drainage, and enhanced landscaping.

Residents would also like to see the empty storefronts filled with locally owned businesses.

We are not really interested in a McDonalds or a big chain store at this time," says Marcus Riggs, a nearby resident and president of the Third Street Neighborhood Association, "but we would like to see some locally owned stores."

The improvements at this location are part of bigger plans to enhance Fourth Street from Broadway south to Churchill Downs at Fourth and Central.

"There are more and more people that are moving closer to our urban centers and our central business district," says Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "That's happening all over the country; now this part of our city is primed for development and redevelopment."

Residents hope this area can be transformed into a local destination that serves the daily shopping and dining needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.

"We are investigating other development opportunities and possibilities along the Oak Street corridor," says Owen, "and we expect to have some major announcements in the very near future."

Construction of the first phase of improvements around Fourth and Oak is expected to get underway next month with completion set for mid-October.

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