Community

An agreement has been signed to turn the Heritage West site in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood into a track and field complex.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced the plan during a news conference Friday. The $30 million project is a collaboration between Metro government and the Louisville Urban League. The track will be designed to host local, regional and national sporting events.

Fischer said the complex is part of a plan to rejuvenate Russell and its surrounding areas as well as boost the local economy. The facility will be built at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard near where the Russell, Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods connect.

“Louisville’s a big sports city, home to the [United Soccer League] Cup champions Louisville City FC, the Bats, horseracing, marathons, cycling, Louisville cardinals and many other collegiate teams, but this facility represents something to the national sports scene and the international sports scene,” Fischer said.

The complex will be a 4,000-seat outdoor and indoor track facility, according to a news release. It will also include a community green space and an outdoor event space. Plans show the complex will be large enough to host national sporting events such as USA Track and Field and NCAA events. Local and regional sporting events will also be held there.

Reverend David Snarden spoke during the news conference about the economic benefits the complex will bring. He said people who come to Louisville to participate in sports at the complex will need restaurants to eat in, hotels to stay in and places to go to when the events are over for the day. He said the complex will help boost the area’s economy and it will also provide another benefit.

“This development is not just about X’s and O’s and erecting buildings or generating funds, and it’ll do all that, but this has to do with our children and leaving a legacy for the future,” Snarden said.

Hadiya Williams runs track for the Westside Track Club. Williams said she is excited to see the complex finished. She said while she knows it will benefit the city, she is especially excited for how it will help the local track teams.

“Every summer we travel all around the U.S. We’ve gone to Texas, Florida. This year we’re going to Greensboro, North Carolina,” Williams said. “We’ve been everywhere, and just to be able to have a track of our own for other people to come is amazing.”

Several other projects had been suggested to fill the vacant Heritage West site including a research facility, methane plant and food cooperative.

A $35 million FoodPort was also planned for the area, but those plans fell through in 2016 when one of the tenants backed out.

Although Fischer and the Louisville Urban League have announced their agreement, the plan must still be approved by Metro Council. Fischer said the council is expected to vote on the plan at its next meeting. If approved, construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019.