When the Jefferson County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth relocated to their new home in the historic Smoketown neighborhood, they did what any other good neighbor would do. They began to reach out to get to know their new community. KFTC has worked for over 30 years to help communities across the Commonwealth organize, advocate, and create change for themselves. They work on issues as varied as clean energy transition in Eastern Kentucky, state wide movement towards a more progressive tax policy, and to reinstate voting rights for former felons. Now, their Jefferson County chapter has begun to move towards dealing with some of the more urban issues that Louisville is facing.
In an attempt to get to know their neighbors, members of the Jefferson County chapter created, alongside the Center for Neighborhoods, a 51 question survey which they took door to door, collecting information about the wants, needs, strengths, and assets of their new community. They collected over 100 responses, and generated this beautiful report, called Vision Smoketown. To get the word out about their work they also participated in Louisville’s 14th Pechakucha at the Resurfaced space. Many of you were on hand to hear KFTS’s Jessica Bellamy report about work going on in Smoketown, but if you missed it, her presentation is now online, up above.
This is an exciting idea for Louisville. As cities across the country struggle to develop their urban cores, some with concern for the original residents, some without, Louisville is in an excellent space to create positive urban change without being implicated in the gentrification of its historic neighborhoods or at the expense of its most vulnerable populations. The questions now is only if Louisvillians will choose to heed this call to action as allies or fall into the current trend of displacement as development.
[h/t Equal Voice.]