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Kentucky City Leaders Visit Louisville

Thursday October 6, 2005

Revitalization of downtown, neighborhoods and retail corridors studied Kentucky League of Cities honors Metro Development Center

Mayor Jerry Abramson this week will help host hundreds of Kentucky city leaders who are here to learn about Louisville’s downtown, waterfront, neighborhood and retail-corridor revitalization initiatives. More than 900 people are expected to participate in the 76th annual Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) convention Oct. 5-8, held in Louisville for the first time since the merger of city and county governments.

“Our cities can all benefit from one another’s successful economic development,” Abramson said. “We’re excited about showcasing our hometown and our accomplishments to cities across our state, and discussing how our cities can expand our working relationships.”

According to the KLC, the convention’s theme is “Cities Without Limits,” reflecting Louisville’s history of innovative ideas, and the growing movement by Kentucky cities to look beyond their borders to benefit citizens across the Commonwealth. More than 350 cities in the state are members of KLC.

“As more and more of Kentucky’s population becomes city-based, the importance of cities having innovative programs and smart planning grows in significance,” said KLC executive director Sylvia L. Lovely. “The convention often can be a catalyst for city leaders in finding ways to improve their communities and prepare for a future that is filled with as much opportunity as it is with challenge.”

This afternoon, city leaders will participate in a number of “mobile workshops” highlighting a number of Louisville initiatives. At 2 p.m., city leaders will board buses and departing from the Galt House East for the following workshops:
· Neighborhood Revitalization, looking at two completely reborn neighborhoods.
 
Both recipients of federal HOPE VI grants, the Park DuValle and Clarksdale revitalizations include more than $433 million in investment and the demolition of more than 2,000 units of barracks-style public housing. In the West End, Park DuValle is complete and has won national awards for its 125 revitalized acres. East of downtown, both demolition and construction are underway at the former Clarksdale Homes, which will be replaced by the new Liberty Green neighborhood.

· Downtown Revitalization. This workshop will focus on Louisville’s developing downtown, full of housing, retail, museums and entertainment. With $1 billion of investment occurring, this tour will demonstrate the power of critical mass and having a central point of activity in any community.

· Reclaiming the Waterfront. This workshop will visit Waterfront Park and Louisville Slugger Field to demonstrate the jewels that can arise from abandoned and environmentally challenged property.

· Retail Developments. The Corridors of Opportunity in Louisville (COOL) program was created to encourage and facilitate the development of retail businesses along Louisville’s commercial corridors and to enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods. This tour will highlight COOL projects and successful retail developments where adaptive reuses of buildings were possible, and revitalization of once-vacant strip centers.

KLC honors Louisville’s Metro Development Center
The KLC yesterday named Louisville a winner of the 2005 Enterprise Cities Award. The city’s Metro Development Center - the “one stop shop” for development-related business for local developers, builders and homeowners - was selected for demonstrating entrepreneurship, innovation and excellence in local governance.

“Louisville is a city that is making great strides in thinking out of the box, not only to solve problems but also to enhance the overall climate of their communities,” said KLC’s Lovely.

The Metro Development Center opened earlier this year at 444 S. Fifth St., bringing together city agencies and services that had been spread out in five different buildings as far away as six blocks from each other. This had been a common complaint among the Louisville development community for nearly 50 years.

“The Development Center was one of our key initiatives after merger to make government more accessible and convenient for our citizens,” Abramson said.

Louisville was selected in the large-city category. The winners in other categories were: · Population under 5,000 - Horse Cave
· Population 5,001-15,000 - Glasgow
· Population 15,001-40,000 - Madisonville