West Louisville drone shot.jpeg

(WDRB photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Metro Council members signed off on millions of dollars Thursday night during the budget approval process that will kickstart a taxing district in west Louisville.

The West Louisville Opportunity Partnership needed $30 million in seed funding in order to kickstart tax-increment funding (TIF) district. Mayor Greg Fischer allotted $10 million in his budget, which was approved by Metro Council. Another $10 million in private funding will now need to be raised before the state contributes its promised $10 million.

“We feel fairly comfortable that we can get that achieved,” Sen. Gerald Neal said.

Neal was one of several driving forces behind the West End Opportunity Partnership, and he is excited for what lies ahead, thanks to Metro Government’s commitment.

“This is unique," he said. "A lot of people don’t understand how unique this is. So now, we have the opportunity, not just a voice, but an opportunity with money behind it with the ability to sustain the financing of it on an annual basis, and I’m talking about millions of dollars in the future."

The state legislature created the new taxing district to cover nine west Louisville neighborhoods: Algonquin, California, Chickasaw, Parkland, Park DuValle, Park Hill, Portland, Russell and Shawnee. Creating the TIF district means that 80% of the future growth in state and local tax revenues will be reinvested right back into the neighborhoods.

A 21-member board will be in charge or making the decisions how the money will be reinvested. Nine of the members will be residents of each included neighborhoods.

“Government will not dictate what this board does," Neal said. "This board will be able to make its own decisions independent of government."

Determining who will take up the board member seats will be one of the next steps.

“They will decide how to use that funding," Metro Council President David James said. "Whether they’re going to use that funding to help create housing or whether they’re going to help use that funding to create bridge loans for business development. It’s all up to them, which is the unique part."

James said it was a bipartisan team effort to secure the funding, and he’s excited to see how this impacts the future generations of these neighborhoods.

“We’re all working together to make west Louisville a better place to bring more business, more traction, more jobs,” he said.

The taxing district takes effect July 1, but it will take more than a year before the revenue starts rolling in. Still, Neal said, the opportunities will be limitless, which is the whole point.

“Let’s create an empowerment model here," he said. "We have to think in terms of how do you empower a neighborhood? People are going to take care of that which is closest to them. They just need the leverages to get that done. And that’s what this is."

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