Federal funds to revamp Russell neighborhood through 'Vision Rus - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Federal funds to revamp Russell neighborhood through 'Vision Russell'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Louisville is using your feedback to make major improvements in a high crime area.

It's part of Vision Russell -- a federal grant that allows neighbors to decide how the money is spent. At the top of the list are vacant lots like the one at the corner of S. 18th Street and W. Madison Street.

"When the opportunity came up for me to buy it, I just knew that I had to get this property," said Harold Williamson, a long-time business owner in the Russell neighborhood.

He owns the building at the corner of S. 18th Street and W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard, which houses several businesses.

"Bought the property here in '97," Williamson said, adding that, "We've seen it all."

Williamson has stuck it out through good times and bad, and believes Vision Russell will deliver more goods.

"Anything is possible," agreed Jeana Dunlap, Director of Redevelopment Strategies for Metro Louisville.

Vision Russell is a $1 million federal grant with an additional $375,000 from the city. The money is being spent on upgrades suggested by the people who live and work here.

"They want to see vacant lots used for something productive -- something positive, Dunlap said.

Dunlap says in addition to improving vacant lots, improving bus stops was also recommended.

"They'll be artistic but functional," she said. "There are a lot of senior citizens in the neighborhood. They ride public transportation, so we want to give them something that is both functional but also beautiful." 

Now that neighbors have decided how the money should be spent, they can also be part of the transition.

"They can submit an idea and if they're prepared to implement the idea...wonderful," Dunlap said. "If they don't have those resources and they need to be paired with professional contractors, we are going to make an effort to do that as well."

Williamson says one of his tenants is already brainstorming.

"He talked about putting those metal containers on the lot and he talked about using them for educational purposes for our children," Williamson said.

The deadline to submit a request or proposal to the city is Nov. 22.

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