YMCA to be built on vacant property in west Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

YMCA to be built on vacant property in west Louisville

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Rendering of planned YMCA branch at 1700 W Broadway Rendering of planned YMCA branch at 1700 W Broadway
Rendering of planned YMCA branch at 1700 W Broadway Rendering of planned YMCA branch at 1700 W Broadway
Developers now have financing in place to build a YMCA on this vacant property at 17th and Broadway. Developers now have financing in place to build a YMCA on this vacant property at 17th and Broadway.
This property at 17th and Broadway in west Louisville has been vacant since Phillip Morris closed in 1999, but it will soon be home to a new YMCA. This property at 17th and Broadway in west Louisville has been vacant since Phillip Morris closed in 1999, but it will soon be home to a new YMCA.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- What used to be a cigarette plant at 18th and Broadway could now help improve the health of the neighborhood.

After years of delay, a new West Louisville YMCA is about to become a reality. The property has been vacant since Philip Morris shut down in 1999.

But soon, the gravel will be replaced by a gym, the graffiti by group exercise as the YMCA builds a 62,000-square-foot facility.

The YMCA has talked of building on the property for 10 years, but the final piece of the financing puzzle, about $7 million in federal New Market Tax Credits, is finally in place.

“It's been a long and strenuous journey, but we've never lost sight of the vision,” said Steve Tarver, president of CEO of the Greater Louisville YMCA.

That vision is for a comprehensive community health facility, which will include partners Norton Health, which will provide medical services, ProRehab Physical Therapy, Family and Children’s Place, which will provide behavioral and mental health services, and Republic Bank, which will offer financial services.

The facility’s official name will be the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA.

“It really is, to use the core of the Y's mission, to allow people to grow and thrive spiritually, mentally and physically,” Tarver said.

It is hoped that the project will also help the neighborhood thrive by attracting new business to an area that badly needs it.

“Hopefully, we'll get a sit-down restaurant or two, or three, or ten," said Fourth District Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith. "We will possibly get dry cleaners, we could get florist shops, we could get other kinds of professional services."

That's what Quang Do is counting on. He has operated a nail salon across the street from the new YMCA property for more than 10 years and would welcome new customers.

“It will be good for everybody's business,” he said.

And it will perhaps take some of the sting from the loss of the west Louisville Walmart, which was to locate elsewhere on the property.

“There will be another project on the other side of 18th Street,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “It’s a tremendous piece of property there. So when you put the Y project together with rapid transit up 18th Street, this will be a catalyst for the entire west Louisville.

The YMCA hopes to break ground by the end of the year.

Tarver says the facility is designed to supplement, not replace, the nearby Chestnut Street YMCA.

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