Louisville Metro Council District 5 has new representation for the first time since 2000. Donna Purvis is a small business owner and former Humana employee who said she wants to clean up the district and bring hope to its residents.
Purvis, who is a Democrat, replaced longtime council member Cheri Bryant Hamilton. You can listen to our conversation in the player above.
What specific changes would you like to make and how are you going to do that?
I’d like to hold people responsible, whether that’s property owners or city code enforcement. I mean, why make laws if you don’t follow them? Rules have been violated, ordinances have been violated. But they’re not aggressive about following up on some of the issues that we see that we have in District 5. I continuously pass streets that are plagued with trash and litter and it’s just an eyesore. I don’t even feel like I’m in Louisville sometimes.
It’s not just a matter of it looking bad, right? What other issues come along with vacant houses and trash on the street?
You have crime, drug dealing, you have loitering. Right now it’s just an area that is bleak. And there’s not a lot of hope there.
Where do you think the lack of hope comes from?
What we see on a daily basis, we see trash everywhere. We see loitering, we see public intoxication, drinking on the streets. I can’t tell you how many beer bottles or liquor bottles that I pick up. A lot of times, I’ll pick up trash from the end of Broadway to the beginning of Chickasaw Park, on both sides of Southwestern Parkway. Sometimes I use one of the neighborhood kids that go with me. Together we’ll both have a 55-gallon trash bag full of trash to include liquor bottles, beer cans, you name it.
You talked about a lot of different things that concern you regarding your district. Are there certain things that are quickly becoming clear that you’ll need to focus on?
In my opinion, everything is is severe. And I know Rome wasn’t built overnight or in a day. It just seems like everything needs to be handled with a sense of urgency. What could actually benefit the constituents is if they start seeing sidewalks repaired, potholes fixed, alleys cleaned up, alleys paved, I think that is something that they’ve been crying for for years.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.