Backwards logo at the Arena's Norton Healthcare Plaza (Courtesy Tipster)
Backwards logo at the Arena's Norton Healthcare Plaza (Courtesy Tipster)
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Backwards logo at the Arena's Norton Healthcare Plaza (Courtesy Tipster)
Backwards logo at the Arena’s Norton Healthcare Plaza. (Courtesy Tipster)

The ribbon may be cut on the KFC Yum! Center, but one vigilant Broken Sidewalk tipster has spotted an embarrassing blemish on the front doorstep to Downtown’s most high-profile project. A large sign proclaiming Louisville’s newest public space awkwardly as Norton Healthcare Plaza—somehow that name just doesn’t have sticking power—has posted a backwards Norton Healthcare logo.

As you can see in the photo, the signature Norton Healthcare “N” has been reversed, likely to the ire of Norton Healthcare. I suspect this error will be quickly fixed, as the offending sign carries such a prominent position in front of the arena and major events are only days away.

Norton Healthcare signed on as a Cornerstone Sponsor, a deal worth $10 million, and will operate an immediate care center from Monday through Saturday inside the arena. The 1,600 square foot facility will offer three exam rooms and an X-ray lab.

Free public tours are being offered on October 19th. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Also, there’s a new arena website and facebook page online as well. And are we really calling the address of this thing 1 Arena Plaza? Really?

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Branden Klayko

21 COMMENTS

  1. Whoever has been thinking up names for the Arena Site needs to be fired. We went from the rather eloquently named “Freedom Hall” to the “KFC Yum! Center”, a name that I think is bland and turns the front facade of one of the most important buildings in Louisville to little more than a fancy bill board. I understand that the Yum! corporation has played a large role in the construction of this landmark(I think;please correct me if I’m wrong), but they could have done much better than simply slapping there own logo on the front of it. I guess this contrast shows how much things have changed in the last 55 years. How sad.

  2. Louisville City of the 70s… Build an arena enclosed by a river, bridge, and 2 main thru fares, very little parking and it looks like a copier. Any bets on when the “lets bring an NBA team here” starts again?

    This city never fails to underwhelm me!!

  3. Just discovered that the latest Google Maps imagery includes the arena.

    I was actually thinking about a question raised on BS months ago. BS asked in a post that contained renderings for Bardstown and Longest if there were other fairly prominent and under-used lots in the Metro.

    Though I lament some of the decisions that have been made with regards to development and preservation, could we start to think of what comes next?

  4. Mr. Stevens: yes, a lot has changed over the past 55 yrs. All new arenas, and some old ones are now a form of corporate advertising for the namesake and revenue for the facility. Mr. Stone: Please don’t get J.Bruce Miller started again.

  5. @John Stone

    John, care to guess how many parking garages there are in the vicinity of the new Arena?

    Have you seen any other urban sports facilities in some of the ‘overwhelming’ cities you’ve visited that are built adjacent to or atop of 8,000 car parking garages?

    The beauty of the location is that you have a choice of parking far enough away (or perish the thought, take a bus, ride your bike, or cab it there) that you can get out easily enough, or next to a restaurant or bar you want to stop at after an event.

    I guarantee you’ve had no problem parking in one the BFE lots at the Fairground and walking a 1/4 of a mile or more to your gate at Freedom Hall, but you expect covered parking next door and a trip on a moving walkway directly to your seat at Yum Center?

  6. I just figured they mirrored the logo for the benefit of rearview mirror viewers on main street. Seemed like a boneheaded autocentric move to me, but then again I have that reaction to a lot of what our society does.

  7. You know, we can moan all we want to that Frank Gehry didn’t design the Arena, or that it’s not in the place our little elite wanted, or that it has an ugly logo of a less-than-green, albeit regional, company. But you know what? I like that it’s there. I like that restaurants are popping up around it, that a new company is rebuilding an old building because it obviously thinks that area is coming alive, that there will be life there. Comparing arena development in other cities is like playing the zither with mittens on (10 dollars if you get the reference!).

    A word I’ve never seen on these pages is Soul. Not the religious sense, the Jungian (do some research). Louisville has Soul, and soul is always messy. Think of New Orleans, a city with which we have much in common and which is the essence of a soulful city. What are we building on with the arena? Our love of college basketball and our love of drinking and eating too much… just like NO is building on Drew Brees and partying. Can we start there and build a good, sustainable city? Paradoxically, yes. It takes community to build a smarter city. You start community with a place’s obsessions. This is an odd, messy truth. If you don’t understand, meet me for a beer at the Louisville Beer Store sometime. I’ll explain.

  8. @Ken Wilson

    Ken, I completely agree. Not only do I think that Louisville can now boast an absolutely beautiful and state-of-the-art new arena, but the location choice is key. It has become the heart of a corridor which was ripe for more entertainment, housing, and dining choices, and that development is moving along full speed ahead. I seriously doubt any other corner of the city would have been so inspired by its new neighbor that it would undergo the kind of facelift that is gripping the Northern edge of downtown.

    Also, and to your point, one of the first things I noticed about the identity of this town when relocating up here from –ironically enough– my home town of New Orleans following Katrina, was the passion for basketball. A city most definitely should celebrate its passion, lest it be nothing different from any other moderate-sized American city with no more or less personality than the next one a few hours away by interstate. There’s no denying that B-ball is big on both sides of the Ohio, so why not give the obsession a shrine right on the banks of the great river?

    It would not surprise me to learn that 5 years from now, Louisville would be flirting with a more favored topics on this website – installing a streetcar system to replace the hokey trolleybus going in and out of downtown…inspired by, among other things, the arena/stadium/museum district, stretching from Slugger Field to Museum Plaza. The heart of it all? The Yum center! Good job, Louisville…this one will get you closer to where you want to be.

  9. MikeG is 100% right. Like it or not, the momentum of the arena is undeniable. It is the kind of project that can make people in the community feel as though we are capable of larger ideas: Museum Plaza, alternate transit, etc. Just as Slugger Field changed the entire landscape of East Main, the arena will have the same effect for its surrounding area but on an even greater scale. It brings people downtown from all over the area and region, effectively helping to change the public perception of Louisville’s urban center. I would say… that alone is worth the cost.

  10. In my opinion the logical site for the arena would have been 4th and Broadway at the Brown Bros. Caddilac site, parking garages with ground level retail/office west of the arena. However, I am glad that the arena was built close to the riverfront because it might just save the city from the economy crushing boondoggle known as the downtown ORBP. Anything that brings 23,000 people to our waterfront at this critical juncture is a positive because stoppping or altering the downtown ORBP is the most important issue in this city’s 200+ years of existence. Building the arena on the riverfront may turn out to be the downfall of those supporting the entire toll funded ORBP.

  11. I believe that sign looks backward in this picture because the logo is three dimensional instead of two flat sides like the sign itself. If it is three dimensional big only look correct and will look like a reverse image from the other side.

  12. @Ken Wilson – Very well said, Mr. Wilson. The soul that you speak of is the very reason why I will be spending the rest of my life in Louisville. I always get frustrated when people try to compare our city to places like New York or Portland or San Francisco, and even try to copy some of the cultural elements that can be found in those places (great example: SoHo on Main). I do agree with these people, to a certain degree. Louisville isn’t like New York or any other city in the world, it’s LOUISVILLE; a place with its own identity, its own unique culture. Instead of trying to poorly imitate other cities, we should be trying to enhance the distinctive energy that makes Louisville such a wonderful place to live; that flavorful blend of small town Kentucky and big city USA;that wonderful mix of baseball, bourbon, horse racing, steamboats, victorian mansions, Olmsted parks, basketball and football that is Possibility City. It is my belief that any new building, especially in the downtown area, should either reflect or enhance some part of our city’s culture, and the downtown arena does just that.

    The impact that the new arena will have on downtown Louisville is almost immeasurable; just look at the effect it has already had, just on the other side of 2nd street. What was once a block of dead and decaying historic structures is being renovated, restored, and transformed (yes in a rather piecemeal fashion, but who cares?) into a vibrant urban center containing restaurants, apartments, and shops. All of this has happened while the arena was still under construction. The possible developments that it could generate now that it is open boggles the mind. The KFC Yum! Center represents the end of the beginning of the rebirth of downtown Louisville, and I can say with confidence that the next chapter will be very exciting. Hang on to that beer Mr. Wilson; I’d love to sit down and chat sometime in the not so distant future, for there is much to talk about.

  13. Hey, Porter and Mike and everybody… just got back from a great evening at Ear X-tacy and then the Beer Store (Ask Daniel or Tyler or Lori for Night Stalker stout. Nice)… Actually I expected soem backtalk. I’m glad folks get the human way cities grow, as well as the architectural and logistical ways. Without that deeper kind of talk, discussion of the practical and even the aesthetic just hovers in the air.

    Maybe we all need to meet for a beer or two.

  14. @Ken Wilson

    Hi Ken – Nice talking with you at the Beer Store last night! Good to connect a face with your very thoughtful comments –

  15. Great to get a chance to talk with you all! That’s obviously my favorite place to hang out and hold forth. People can hang out, drink great beer and actually hear each other.

  16. Here’s an important little post from Aaron Renn:
    http://www.urbanophile.com/2010/10/17/piercing-the-narrative/

    As usual Renn is raising the right questions, in this case: What the hell are we are talking about? What paradigms are we actually using when we discuss cities, and can anything come of talk when we don’t go more deeply into our assumptions and teleologies? The internet has made for more voices being heard, but also for more yelling into the din. Until we decide what it truly is we are talking about and what we are aiming for and the ways in which our assumptions differ, we will just be a revolving circus of Hyde Park loonies. I think this thread, about the Arena, is as good a place as any to raise the issue of, well, what the issue is. Behind most of my posts on BS is my own assumption that resolving the kind of problem Renn speaks of is possible only if we begin to have diverse, lively, humane, informal talk. It can happen here, or it can happen over a beer, but until people let down the internet personae and political personae that sometimes get in the way of real talk, we as a city won’t move. We have an odd combination of civility and passive-aggressive behavior and anti-intellectualism that gets in the way.

    Broken Sidewalk is our own best hope. In the political circles I find myself in and on blogs I visit regularly there is a closed stridency that leads nowhere.

    I’ve tried to get something going in the Forum here about this:
    http://talk.brokensidewalk.com/topic/aiming-towards-a-better-city-not-a-great-city

  17. It will be interesting to see if the Norton Immediate Care Facility at the arena will be patronized much on an average day. Seems to be an odd location (not near the street or parking) for such a facility except if medical care is needed during an game or event. A food service/coffee shop usage would have perhaps been a better use for that corner of the building with umbrella covered tables on the plaza. Right now that corner of the plaza is an empty, soulless space.

  18. Yes! How great that would be – real tables and food carts – making the place look permanently alive. Brilliant!

  19. I posted something earlier that’s not up. I’m beginning to realize it’s not a good idea to post with links. The robot kills you. I’ve had things die here before.

  20. After leaving my earlier comment questioning the approporiateness of putting the Norton Immediate Care Center at the Arena I found myself using their services and since I work very close to the Arena found the location extremely convenient. However… it was because the care center is downtown and near Main Street that that made it convenient, not because it was specifically at the YUM Center. I still think a coffee/food service with tables and seating in the NW corner of the plaza would have been a better choice in terms of enlivening this very blank and sterile area.

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