West Louisville FoodPort one step closer to reality - WDRB 41 Louisville News

West Louisville FoodPort one step closer to reality

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is one step closer to becoming reality; a project that promises to boost the economy in an area that really needs it.

Mayor Greg Fischer has signed the agreement that helps clear the way for turning a vacant 24-acre field at 30th and Muhammad Ali into an innovative new venture: the west Louisville FoodPort.

"I would like something down there," said Jamesetta Dryden who lives nearby.

She says she's tired of stepping out her front door and seeing an eyesore.

"It's dead-looking down there, scary to walk," said Dryden.

But within two years, the field could be transformed. The $56 million FoodPort will be a collection of food-related businesses, from growing and processing to distribution and sales.

It's being developed by the non-profit Seed Capital Kentucky.

"All of this as a goal to get more local food onto the tables of the people in our community who really want that," said Caroline Heine, co-founder and project director of Seed Capital.

Under the agreement signed this week by Mayor Fischer, the city is selling the property to Seed Capital KY for $1.

Having that deed in hand will accelerate fundraising.

"Having outright ownership allows us to apply for certain grants we couldn't apply for before, EPA brownfield grants, for example," said Heine.

FoodPort will result in more than 100 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs.

Seed Capital has agreed to hire as many as possible from the surrounding neighborhoods.

"We anticipate that whole neighborhood around the FoodPort will become a food innovation district. So, we're also revitalizing a neighborhood at the same time," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

FoodPort hopes to break ground this fall and begin operations in late 2017. It can't some soon enough for Jamesetta Dryden.

"I think it'll be great for the community, giving people jobs and something to do to get off the streets," she said.

FoodPort will hold its first job fair next month to begin filling construction jobs. It is scheduled for April 26 from 1-3 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

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