Funding being finalized to turn abandoned Louisville school into - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Funding being finalized to turn abandoned Louisville school into senior housing

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An abandoned Louisville school has turned into a hub for the homeless, rowdy teens and crime. 

Not far from Churchill Downs, in the neighborhood off Wheeler Avenue, trash and busted-out windows tell of the frustrations and fear in the community.   

"Kids go in, they break in, the police are always over here," said Greg Garrett, a neighbor. 

"I'm afraid someone might catch it on fire," said Doris Griffin, another neighbor.

It's the old Charles D. Jacob school, built in 1932 and unused for the last decade. 

"They use it as a dump," said Garrett. "Dump stuff in the parking lot back there."

The neighbors suspect gangs, violence and drugs.

"You never know what might actually happen in there," said Griffin. "I wish they'd do something with it."

Griffin may get her wish.

"We've heard that there will be good forthcoming from the Kentucky Housing Corporation, which will be the award of tax credits toward this project," said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl chief of Louisville Forward. 

WDRB has learned the Bywater Development Group is in final talks to renovate the old Jacob School into a senior living complex. Company officials said the renovation would consist of about 60 income-based apartments -- a $12 million investment. 

"This is absolutely a core anchor to the redevelopment in that neighborhood," said Wiederwohl.

Redevelopment is needed. The Jacobs neighborhood saw four murders in the first four months of this year. The school is on the National Register of Historic sites, so figuring out what's next was a bit tricky. Preservationists didn't want it torn down.

Bywater, a St. Louis-based developer, has a reputation for historic preservation and completed similar projects in Missouri. 

A school that once educated some of the city's youngest could now be home for some of the city's oldest. 

"That would be great," Griffin said. "Absolutely great. I may actually move over there myself."

JCPS sold the Jacob school in 2006. City officials expect final word on the terms of any tax credits from the Kentucky Housing Corporation later this week.

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