Residents of some Louisville neighborhoods combining voices for - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Residents of some Louisville neighborhoods combining voices for positive change

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Residents of some struggling neighborhoods are joining forces to speak out about the things they don't want, like liquor stores and abandoned homes. 

Smoketown and Shelby Park recently formed a community coalition to stand together when there's something they don't want in their neighborhoods.

"I didn't come to Smoketown to just to say, 'Hey, I've found a nice building, and I want to be right here," said Nachand Trabue, President and CEo of Manhattan on Broadway. "We want businesses down the street. We want businesses all around us, but we did not want a liquor store down the street."

Trabue is on a mission to improve Smoketown and surrounding neighborhoods, because she believes they have what he calls "a lot of great momentum."

That momentum includes a recent effort by residents to block a proposed liquor store on East Broadway. They also convinced the Metropolitan Sewer District to stop construction on an above ground sewer basin and spend $6 million to build it underground at Logan and Breckenridge. And residents are working with a local nonprofit to purchase and eliminate vacant and abandoned homes in Shelby Park.

"The neighborhood associations and the neighbors in contiguous areas, right here, surrounded by Smoketown, all decided to unify their voices," Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith said. 

Last week, people in several neighborhoods, including Smoketown, Phoenix Hill, Shelby Park, Germantown and a few others, reached out to Sexton-Smith about forming a community coalition aimed at improving the neighborhoods.

So far, standing united has produced positive results.

"It all starts with stop blaming, stop accusing and get connected," Sexton-Smith said. "Much of it is, in part, because the neighbors have let their voices be heard, and they've said 'enough is enough, and we're going to build up our communities.'"

Trabue said she's excited about the effort and hopes the new coalition will lead to growth. 

"We thought the business coalition would kind of be able to be the umbrella for businesses owners who want to come into the community," she said.

The coalition still has a lot of work ahead including another proposed liquor store they plan to fight. For now, the city has said no, but the decision has been appealed to Frankfort.

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