Community

West Louisville has been hurt by disinvestment, redlining and poverty, but prospects for the area are so positive now, local organizations are warning residents there not to sell their homes.

The Louisville Urban League is working to get the message out to West Louisville homeowners. The organization hosted a panel discussion Tuesday night.

Cathy Hinko, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, was a member of that panel. Hinko said she expects West Louisville to grow with planned investments and initiatives.

“There will be some economic opportunities. The real estate value will go up,” Hinko said. “That is a great thing to happen. It is also a very scary thing to happen. If you are one of the homeowners in this area, when is a good time to sell?”

Russell, a neighborhood in West Louisville, is one of many receiving state and federal investments. Those investments include a $29.5 million Housing and Urban Development grant, a $30 million track and field complex, and a $3.3 million health clinic.

Colleen Younger, chief of staff for the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator, said the property value in West Louisville and areas around could increase by about 10 percent when assessed next year because of increasing sales and investments.

Kevin Dunlap, executive director of Rebound – an initiative of the Louisville Urban League to develop homes in West Louisville — said those investments are why West Louisville residents should keep their homes.

“We’re not trying to discourage anyone from selling their property that wants to sell their property, but we think that everybody needs to be informed what’s taking place in the community,” Dunlap said. “Selling today is very different from selling tomorrow, where you could potentially benefit.”

Dunlap said the Urban League has heard from residents in West Louisville who say they have received mailings, phone calls and in-person inquiries about selling their property.

The Urban League and other organizations have increasingly pushed for homeownership in West Louisville, pointing to it as a means of creating wealth and fostering community. A report by the Metropolitan Housing Coalition found the percentage of homeowners grew in Louisville between 2011 and 2016, but the growth left behind black and Hispanic homeowners.

Meetings for another Russell initiative, called Russell: A Place of Promise, are planned for August 30 and Sept. 8. That initiative aims to use resident input to address community needs.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.