Mayor Fischer talks jobs, investments during State of the City address
Mayor Fischer says Louisville must continue to be a global city.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mayor Greg Fischer went to one of Louisville's most troubled neighborhoods Thursday to talk about the city's future, giving his State of the City address at the Baxter Community Center in Beecher Terrace, near the scene of a recent murder.
Just a few yards from where Fischer was speaking was a makeshift memorial, a reminder of the violence that plagues this historic but troubled neighborhood.
“It's horrible. People don't have respect for life,” said Amanda, who lives in west Louisville.
It's the one issue that people here want Fischer to address.
“Just try to clean up everything around here. You know. All this killing stuff don't make any sense,” said Jerry, a Beecher Terrace resident.
In his speech, Fischer did talk about the city's efforts to clean up crime, including reorganizing LMPD.
“We are hiring 150 additional LMPD officers, the most since merger, and are adding two new squads of detectives to address crimes involving narcotics, the source of most of the crime,” Fischer told the assembled members of the Downtown Rotary Club.
But Fischer says it is economic growth in all neighborhoods that will help fight crime.
"To take our place alongside great global cities, we have to ensure that prosperity spreads throughout our city,” he said.
Fischer cited $9 billion in investments, ranging from new libraries in Okolona and the east end, to restoration of Colonial Gardens in the south end, to 23 new hotels in and around downtown
As he took his audience on a virtual tour of the city, Fischer highlighted the $320 million Omni Louisville Hotel in downtown, new restaurants and businesses in NuLu, Butchertown, Sheppard Square and Portland, and library expansions and construction in south Louisville, St. Matthews and eastern Jefferson County.
Fischer noted the creation of 61,000 new jobs and 2,600 new businesses, an unemployment rate drop from more than 10 percent to 3.5 percent, the lowest in 15 years.
“Our city overall has achieved a level of prosperity, unlike anything in recent memory,” he said.
Fischer brought his speech to Beecher Terrance to highlight the investment coming there, a $30 million federal grant to help rebuild the housing project and revitalize the Russell neighborhood.
“This project represents the single largest investment in west Louisville in decades, if not ever, and the ripple effect will be felt all across Louisville,” Fischer said.
But Fischer got the biggest applause when he touted the contributions of Louisville's foreign born residents.
“The fact is that a great city must be a global city,” he said.
But Fischer stopped short of saying Louisville should become a sanctuary city, which would put Louisville at odds with President Donald Trump.
Metro Council President David Yates agrees.
“I don't think believe we should adopt the name," Yates said. "I think that we should continue the practice of making sure we're not arresting individuals based on their immigration status."
But sanctuary city or not, Fischer's vision for Louisville is clear.
“Let's continue to come together and work together, so we can continue to rise together.”
Fischer's only major policy announcement was that he is asking the Metro Council to add hookah and e-cigarettes to the city’s Smoke Free ordinance.
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