Long-term plan aims to transform, revitalize the Russell neighbo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Long-term plan aims to transform, revitalize the Russell neighborhood

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A long-term plan to revamp the Russell neighborhood is in the works.

Pamela Haines says her restaurant, Sweet Peaches, at the corner of 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, has become a gathering place in the Russell neighborhood. She wants to change the image there, and supports a plan called "Vision Russell."

She says she understands it's a long-term plan and it will likely take up to 10 years to completely transform the neighborhood.

"I see stuff back and forth, back and forth," she said. "I see all kinds of things, and I was a little apprehensive, but like I said, the neighborhood has embraced me." 

"Right now, the vision is clouded by rundown houses, boarded up houses," she added. "I think once they put their vision into action, no more boarded up houses, more businesses, greener grass, more trees."

A map shows just how large the neighborhood is spanning from Market to Broadway, and from 9th Street to 32nd Street. About 11,000 residents live there. City leaders, residents and business owners are joining together for this Choice Neighborhood Initiative.

"What Choice recognizes is that, yes, you need a public housing site, you need to deal with problems in the adjoining neighborhood, because they oftentimes sit in impoverished and distressed neighborhoods," said Tim Barry, the Executive Director of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.

The Louisville Metro Housing Authority received a planning grant from HUD over a year ago. Officials must develop a comprehensive plan for transforming the Beecher Terrace Housing project and the Russell neighborhood. The goal is to improve housing and attract high-paying jobs to make it a better place to live.

"A lot of the problems with crime emanates from the concentration of poverty, and the most imminent place it exists, is Beecher Terrace," Barry said. "That's a magnet for problems, almost all of which come from the outside."

The Housing Authority recently applied for another grant that could provide up to $1.5 million that could help the neighborhood. The grant awards will be announced this June.

In the meantime, Haines is growing her business and is excited to see future changes in the area.

"It is located in one the roughest parts of town, but I have people from downtown, people from Indiana come," she said. "Like I said, you build it and they will come."

There is an Education Task Force meeting on Vision Russell Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Louisville Metro Housing Authority on 8th Street.

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