Local business, government leaders looking for ways to improve e - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local business, government leaders looking for ways to improve economic future of west Louisville

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A group of local business leaders met at the Muhammad Ali Center on Friday to talk about the economic future of west Louisville.

After the FoodPort deal was canceled and projects like the YMCA and Walmart were put on hold, some neighbors in west Louisville are left wondering what's next.

“There are a lot of issues in west Louisville, [like] being able to have a living wage, being able to support your family, to have decent, or more than decent, educational opportunities for all the residents of west Louisville," said Ramona Lindsey with the West Louisville Community Council. "That's all important."

Local business and government leaders are putting their heads together to come up with solutions like increasing home ownership rates, particularly in the Russell neighborhood. Twenty-four market rate homes are planned to be built on Cedar Street.

Also, they want to make it easier for people to open businesses in West Louisville.

One local business owner, Demetrious Gray, knows what that's like.

Gray started a roofing business five years ago that makes more than $1 million in sales each year. He says he would like to see it become easier for entrepreneurs with big ideas to get financial help, not just micro-businesses.

“If you wanted to be small, you could go find some dollars,” Grays said. “But to do something large was much harder, so I would love to see this community of people decide that ‘hey, we are going to really make it advantageous for young entrepreneurs to do big things in the city.’”

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, who helped turn around the economy in Kansas City, Mo., was a speaker at the event. Kansas City used jazz and baseball to bring jobs to the area.

“You have a couple of things that are similar,” Rep. Cleaver said. “You have, after all, a very famous African American who came from here. Although it's already been exploited some, I think you can exploit the Muhammad Ali legacy.”

Members of the West Louisville Community Council say they can't create more jobs without feedback from people who actually live in west Louisville.

The West Louisville Community Council is holding a meeting on Monday, Aug. 29 from 6:30-7 p.m. at the Louisville Urban League. Anyone with questions or concerns is invited to attend. 

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