Interactive workshop lays out design plans for Louisville's Russ - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Interactive workshop lays out design plans for Louisville's Russell neighborhood

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's an area of Louisville that's seen its share of crime, but residents in the Russell neighborhood say new plans to revitalize the area are giving them hope.

"Vision Russell" is a “road map for the future” - a plan to rebuild the Russell neighborhood in west Louisville that covers 940 acres.

“Extending all the way from 9th Street to 32nd Street and from the north side of Broadway to the south side of Market," resident Manfred Reid said.

Reid says a transformation would benefit everyone in his neighborhood.

"It has become important that we have to, number one, look toward rebuilding the entire community, and we're beginning with neighborhoods such as Russell to transform it into a viable socially and economic community that everybody can be happy with," Reid said.

On Saturday, Louisville Metro Housing Authority, in partnership with Louisville Metro, held a community design workshop. They laid out possible changes and received feedback from residents on what they'd like to see.

"It really begins and ends with the people who live, work and worship in Russell neighborhood," Louisville Housing Authority Director Tim Barry said.

The workshop and planning process is talking about everything from improving transportation, streets and sidewalks to adding attractions like skate parks, picnic areas and art sculptures.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says that includes retail stores and fresh produce markets. New modern housing is also an option including single family and 2-3 unit homes.

"We want to make sure schools are good, childcare is good, got healthcare, restaurants, grocery store, athletic facilities," Mayor Fischer said. "Every neighborhood in Louisville deserves to be a safe and healthy neighborhood."

Louisville is spending more than $1 million - nearly half of which came from the federal government - to help develop a plan for the Russell neighborhood, including Beecher Terrace, an area historically known for criminal behavior.

“Beecher Terrace was built in 1940, so it's very, very old and outdated," Barry said.

Barry says redeveloping public housing sites is not a new concept for Louisville. It's been done in the past at places like Liberty Green and Sheppard Square.

"You know, a lot of the residents who live there before return, but the crime drops off the table,” Barry said. “And it has to do with the environment, not the people who live there. It has everything to do with the environment."

Louisville Metro will now take feedback from residents and develop a draft plan on the improvements. The draft should be finished sometime in December.

The final plan needs to be submitted to Housing and Urban Development by January 2017.

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