On Martin Luther King Day this week, officials conferred ownership of a former trolley barn to the non-profit African American Heritage Foundation after a $23 million renovation. The ceremony marks a milestone in the creation of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in the Russell neighborhood.
Initial renovations transformed the abandoned trolley barns at 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard into a revitalized facility through a series of federal, state, and local funds in addition to private donations. In coming months, the Heritage Foundation must raise additional funds estimated at around $5 million get the museum operational which could happen in 2011.
The once-beleaguered project was the subject of a state audit causing significant delay and eventually the city assumed responsibility for the project. Part of the funds to be raised include back payments to contractors and a lender.
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Coming late to this article, but it was an important one and thanks for the reporting. But . . . always a but, what about some commentary? This fantastic building was of historic importance because the old overhead electric trolley system used the facility to repair trolley cars. In the 2003 ROD of the Louisville Bridges project, the trolley barn rehab project was included as a crumb tossed to the west end to shut up criticism about spending a few billion to create caucasian east end sprawl. The destruction/reconstruction of the building into an African American commercial and cultural center has flopped and probably prevented the valuable site from ever again functioning as a valuable part of an affordable mass transit system. What the west end needs is not feel good exhibits documenting how every generation of African Americans is robbed and exploited by the Louisville power elite, but actual transportation connectivity through affordable mass transit. Blinking, clueless, self-serving west end political hacks have failed to advance the west end in Metro government and your article is unnecessarily innocent of these facts.