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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Revitalization of Russell Neighborhood Continues

Tuesday June 14, 2005

Mayor Jerry Abramson today kicked off the construction of 43 new, market-rate homes in the Cedar Street Development, the last major piece of the $26 million Russell Urban Renewal initiative, which began in 1990.

“More than 15 years ago, we began the effort to revitalize this proud neighborhood with a storied past that had fallen on hard times,” Abramson said. “We have transformed the Russell area with new housing, new neighborhood infrastructure and, in turn, a new level of quality of life and neighborhood pride.”

Abramson said that over the years, the urban-renewal effort used government dollars, largely community-development block grants, to leverage private funds to rehabilitate and build houses. The first initiative in Russell was the Hampton Place Apartments, followed by several hundred new homes built through public-private partnerships between the city and groups like the Louisville Urban League, Habitat for Humanity and several area banks.
The Russell neighborhood was built by freed slaves in the mid-1800s and named for a leading black educator. By the 1880s, it had grown into a trendy “suburb” as German and Irish immigrants settled and built fashionable Victorian and Italianate homes.

By the 1940s, Russell had become the city’s premier African-American neighborhood with bustling businesses and popular night spots. But after World War II, the neighborhood began a downward slide that continued until 1990.

When the Russell Urban Renewal project began, census numbers were low, there was a high rate of rental housing, and there was underused industrial land located in the neighborhood. The urban-renewal project’s goal was to provide people an opportunity to move back into the neighborhood with new and rehabilitated housing, as well as transform the area into a residential and safe community.

For the new Cedar Street Development, the Urban Renewal & Community Development Agency will make parcels available for $1. Potential homeowners may choose from among six homebuilders who are working with the Louisville Metro Department of Housing and Community Development.

Five speculative homes are under construction on the south side of Cedar Street, between 19th and 20th Streets, which will demonstrate a selection of home styles and display each builder’s designs. Homeowners are not limited to the model-home designs, and can work with the builder to adjust designs for individual taste. Each home must comply with the neighborhood design and Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services guidelines.
The homes will have a minimum of at least 1,800 square feet, and will start at $130,000. They will feature primarily brick exteriors and conform to high design standards.

Homebuilders include:
 · Lyane Enterprises, LLC [Janie Pollock & Nicki Dorton]

· Allstate Builders, Inc. [Gabe Fritz & Ray Haines]

· J. Roach Enterprises, LLC [Brock Edwards & Joe Roach]

· West End Development, LLC [Jack Kleinholter] · Laneh & HDDS Development Venture, LLC [Milton Haskins & Herb Toller]
· Oracle Design Group, Inc. [Mark Wright] For more information, contact Paul Mastrolia, of the Metro Housing and Community Development Department, at 574-2321.