West Louisville residents lament the loss of FoodPort project
Jobs, prosperity and safety: it was all tied to one development in West Louisville that suddenly fell apart.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jobs, prosperity and safety: it was all tied to one development in West Louisville that suddenly fell apart.
It was once a sign of hope, but not anymore. West Louisville's FoodPort project has been scrapped. With the development no longer going in across from Patty Wilbert's home, she's finding it hard to trust the city's plans.
"Another disappointment again," Wilbert said.
"I hear about all these things, but I can't believe it until I see it because they always fall through, and we don't really have anything around here," she added.
The FoodPort was billed as a game-changer. The concept built a $30 million farming and production hub at the corner of 30th Street and Market Street to feed the restaurant and distribution industries. It was considered a huge economic boost, creating jobs, raising property values, and making one of the city's poorest communities a bit more safe.
But developer Seed Capital Kentucky backed out this week.
"Once the main tenant said they could not participate, that made the finances come into question," admitted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
"Obviously, this is a setback, but it's only a failure if you don't get up and try again," he added.
It marks the latest in a series of setbacks in West Louisville. The planned Walmart at the corner of 18th Street and Broadway is locked in a lawsuit. The YMCA site across the street has been delayed for years, now waiting on tax breaks. And a methane plant development collapsed as neighbors fought against it.
"We're really disappointed at the extension office," said Hayley Pearce of the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension. "We were looking forward to a new home, especially one that would be surrounded by like-minded ventures."
The handful of tenants who already agreed to move into the port are looking for new homes, but for neighbors like Patty Wilbert, moving is not an option.
"No one wants to come down here," Wilbert said. "It seems like there's nothing for them."
"I own this house and the one next door," she said. "It would be nice if we had something to look forward to."
"Do we not have the right support, maybe, or no one believes in us?" she added. "I'm not sure, but we're not given a chance, I don't think."
The city sold the foot port property for $1. It's worth $1.5 million. The city will now take back the land.
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