W. Market project designed to grow business, pride - WDRB 41 Louisville News

W. Market project designed to grow business, pride

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From blight to beauty: that's the plan for a stretch of West Market St. in Louisville's Shawnee area. It's all part of a new effort to revive the neighborhood..

It's only a new sidewalk. But those for who live and work on W. Market Street, it represents a whole lot more.

"Growing up, it was community. There were things for young people to do; things for families to do," said Monica LaPrudd as she remembered her childhood on W. Market St.

W. Market has fallen on hard times since Monica LaPrudd grew up here. Abandoned buildings and boarded businesses have sprouted like weeds where manicured lawns and neighborhood shops once stood.

"We want to see that come back. We want to see families out walking, spending time together," she said.

That's why LaPrudd, who is now Director of Neighborhood Transformation for the Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center, is excited to see this new sidewalk. It's part of an effort to put a new face on W. Market.

"We plan on the landscaping, tree planting, the shrubbery, all of that later on this week," said Dist. 5 Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton.

Plans are for this one block pilot project from 38th to 39th streets to spread to other parts of West Market. Louisville's Metro Council has set aside a half-million dollars to get started.

Besides beautification, the project also includes drainage improvements.

It's all designed to attract new businesses and new spirit.

"We're hoping that people will see this as an area that has pride and cares about itself," said Hamilton. "So that people will say it's a nice place to do business. It's clean. There's no crime."

That's the hope for Sherelle Thompson, whose family has been a victim of crime.

"If it will open up some venues, and let us see some positive things -- bring some positive stuff back to the neighborhood -- it will be gladly appreciated," she said.

"I hope and believe that this is the beginning of transformation for West Louisville, this Market Street corridor," said LaPrudd.

A block party and parade are scheduled for September as the community celebrates what it hopes is a new beginning for W. Market St.

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