EPA grant could help jump start delayed West Louisville YMCA - WDRB 41 Louisville News

EPA grant could help jump start delayed West Louisville YMCA

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's supposed to help jump start the economy along West Broadway, but construction of the new West Louisville YMCA is years behind schedule.

One reason: sand. That's right, sand. It's piled up in the southwest corner of the property at an old Philip Morris shipping and receiving building.

The sand was used in the 1970s to raise the elevation of a platform to allow easier access by trucks.

The problem is the sand is contaminated by heavy metals.

“We found it after we demolished the upper structure of the building, and then we stopped the demolition,” said Steve Tarver, the president and CEO of the Greater Louisville YMCA.

Work stopped for some two years, but now YMCA has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the EPA to help remove the sand, which is all above ground.

It will not cover the entire $700,000 cost, but enough to allow the cleanup to go forward.

"We're going to be having great, healthy activities, a broad continuum of good health activities for youth and for families, and our board felt very strongly that this should be a completely clean site," said Tarver.

But the sand is not all that's holding up construction. There have been delays in finalizing partnerships for various programs to be offered at the facility.

And last year, the 'Y' was denied $8 million in federal tax credits to help fund the project. It is re-applying this year.

“In the absence of those (funds), there will be additional delays,” said Tarver.

Those delays could be costly. The city is counting on the new YMCA, combined with the planned WalMart next door, to help revitalize the West Broadway corridor.

“The 'Y' of course is a great addition to West Louisville, a great healthy addition as well. There will be some other companies that will locate around there, so really looking forward to seeing 18th & Broadway come alive,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.

"Certainly if there's ever a time where the cliche, 'The devil is in the details' is true, this would be one, but we still have the dream, we still have the excitement," said Tarver.

If all goes according to plan, construction should begin later this year, and finish sometime in 2017.

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