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City's "Portland Pride" Project Renovating Homes, Revitalizing Portland Neighborhood

Friday August 23, 2013

Up to 75 homes being renovated with federal funds

The owners of a renovated home joined Mayor Greg Fischer, Congressman John Yarmuth and other community leaders today to mark the progress of a major revitalization effort underway in Portland.

The home, owned by Bob and Donna Shepperson in the 2700 block of West Main St., is one of 75 selected to receive renovations as part of the “Portland Pride” initiative which is focused on preserving home ownership, strengthening the neighborhood and increasing economic development opportunities.

Thirty Portland homes have been renovated or improved, 15 more are in progress, and 30 or more homes are projected to be complete by next summer.

“This work in Portland is providing significant and lasting improvements to this historic neighborhood, and helping forge other public and private partnerships,” Fischer said. “Homeowners like Bob and Donna Shepperson serve as anchors in the community – providing other families with more stability and a community of which they can be proud.”

The revitalization effort is funded by $2 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds that were awarded when Portland was selected to be Louisville’s first Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA) in 2011 for meeting federal criteria as a distressed neighborhood. The NSRA work focuses on

exterior rehab and facade improvements, resolving property code violations and reducing lead paint in homes.

Through the federal funds, nearly $1 million in contracts have been awarded to ten local construction companies for repair and rehabilitation work, helping create and preserve local jobs.

The city’s Department of Community Services and Revitalization (CSR) is the lead agency in the work. Louisville non-profit New Directions Housing Corporation oversees each home’s rehabilitation by providing tailored site plans to increase safety, security and façade restoration, as called for by the Portland Neighborhood Action Plan. Habitat for Humanity is also involved in the project, providing after-job home maintenance training.

“The Portland NRSA shows how smart, targeted federal investment can help build neighborhoods, attract new resources, and strengthen entire communities,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “While the Community Development Block Grant program faces drastic funding cuts in Washington, its benefits are clear in Portland’s renewed promise.”

New Directions has raised an additional $507,500 for Portland Pride, leveraging public funds. Sources include The Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and its Affordable Housing Program accessed through its member, Fifth Third Bank, and Kentucky Housing Corporation which has twice provided competitive awards from the Commonwealth’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Another key partner is Preservation Louisville which provided architectural consultation and craftsmanship in the renovation of the Shepperson’s home on West Main St.

Part of the NRSA funding -- $250,000 -- was allocated to the city’s Department of Economic Growth and Innovation which has been matched with $250,000 from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board. The $500,000 will be used for loans to spur new food processing and manufacturing business to locate in Portland.

The community involvement and planning by residents also played a key role in Portland receiving the NSRA designation, with the support of Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton. One ripple effect of the Portland Pride project is that nearly 80 residents participating in the program have recently joined the Portland Now neighborhood association.

To learn more about the Portland NRSA and other revitalization efforts in Louisville neighborhoods, visit Community Services and Revitalization’s website at www.louisvilleky.gov/csr.