Fifty-plus years ago, the urban core of Louisville was home to a thriving manufacturing economy. From mattresses to soap to pipe organs, local factories provided jobs that encouraged the growth and expansion of neighboring communities.[pull_quote_right]Attend a community meeting on Thursday, September 25th from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at AMVETS Post 9, 1567 South Shelby Street.[/pull_quote_right]
Today, most of the factories in the city have been abandoned and often demolished, leaving blighted gaps in once-vibrant neighborhoods. Divestment of this kind typically results in the formation of brownfields, defined by the Center for Environmental Policy and Management (CEPM) as a “vacant or underutilized site where the threat of contamination has made redevelopment more complex.”
Due to the lingering effects of industry, potential brownfields sites have been identified in certain areas around Germantown, Smoketown, and Shelby Park.
However, there is a plan to deal with these properties—the Germantown/Shelby Park Rail Corridor Area-Wide Plan, to be exact.
The city has been working with multiple partners to develop a comprehensive strategy that can help areas affected by brownfields, funded through Louisville’s Department of Economic Growth and Innovation by a grant from the U.S. EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Program.
The task of transforming brownfields into viable properties is not easy, but the benefits are widespread. Along with alleviating urban blight and vacancy, land restoration projects of this type can allow community members to “start over” and create sustainable infrastructure that reduces hazards to public health and the environment.
According to the CEPM website, there are several “catalyst” locales along the Germantown/Shelby Park Rail Corridor where the city feels re-development would help improve the neighborhood.
Project leaders are seeking feedback from residents and stakeholders to create an implementation strategy for the Area-Wide Plan. The next community meeting will take place on Thursday, September 25th from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at AMVETS Post 9, located on 1567 South Shelby Street.