Here Today In Conversation

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A new YMCA, a track and field complex, the expansion of Waterfront Park and more development are coming to neighborhoods in Louisville’s West End. The area has faced years of disinvestment and neglect, so how will these new investments affect residents?

The new initiatives and the impact they might have were discussed during Friday’s In Conversation with Rick Howlett on WFPL. Our guests were:

  • Lyndon Pryor — Chief Engagement Officer at the Louisville Urban League
  • Evon Smith — President and CEO Of OneWest
  • Jackie Floyd — Longtime Russell Resident

The Louisville Urban League is currently fundraising for a $35 million track and field complex. Chief Engagement Officer Lyndon Pryor said the complex would benefit the city and attract tens of thousands of people for sporting events.

“There have been a lot of individuals in the world of track and field, which Louisville is well known for, who have been asking for an indoor track facility for a very long time,” Pryor said. “There just isn’t a resource of that type locally here, or even close in the region. So we were happy to do that.”

OneWest’s focus is different. It is a nonprofit created to promote commercial real estate development and, as President Evon Smith says, to give residents new opportunities. The organization recently bought buildings near 18th and Broadway;  OneWest also helped purchase a nearby warehouse with plans to turn it into a mixed-use development.

But some residents worry these new investments will raise property values and displace residents, gentrifying the neighborhoods.

Jackie Floyd is a longtime resident of the Russell neighborhood, and said her neighborhood needs mixed income residents to grow. But Floyd said residents should have input on changes to the neighborhood.

“What we are doing is looking at policies to keep [gentrification] from happening — from keeping the people that have been in Russell and want to stay in Russell from being pushed out,” Floyd said. “This is our community, and we have a right — and we also have responsibilities — to be involved in what’s going on in our community.”

Join us next Friday on In Conversation as we talk to Congressman John Yarmuth about his new position as chairman of the House Budget Committee, his take on national politics and what he’s working on in the 3rd District.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.