Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Apologize.

I've been mulling writing this post for a while. Like most of you I've seen the news reports about the murders. I have seen how our youth seem to have lost their way. This post is for them, our youth

I want to apologize to all of the youth in the current generation and the next one coming up. We have failed you. We have failed you miserably.

I want to apologize for not passing on our true history as African-Americans to you. We have taught you nothing about where you came from and who you are. Instead we let the public school system and the mass media teach you about who you are. It's no wonder that all you know of black history is that we were slaves who didn't fight back, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights Movement. We have failed to give you sense of self.

I want to apologize for not providing you with independent schools where you could be taught by people who looked like you and shared your experiences. Thus giving you the proper guidance you needed. When I was growing up we had those schools like Christ The King and others. We left you to fend for yourselves.

I want to apologize for leaving you a community in disrepair. We haven't been the best caretakers of West Louisville. We let our historic building be torn down. We have not created long lasting small to medium size businesses that can add riches and employment to the neighborhood. Instead we all got jobs with some of Louisville's largest companies and moved east. Those of us who couldn't move East moved to Shively. We let the city turn large parts of West Louisville into warehousing of the poor and halfway houses.

There are 1000 more things I could apologize for and for those things I am truly sorry. We have failed you. But I will fail you no more. That's my promise to you.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What Should Have Been, What Should Be, What Still Could Be

As some of you may know, I along with several other preservation groups, have been trying to save the old Phillip Morris warehouse on the corner of 18th and Broadway. Currently the YMCA of Greater Louisville wants to tear down the warehouse that stands 5 stories, is a block long, has more than 500,000+ square foot space, to build a 2.5 story Y that will include an aquatic center and UL healthcare and will have 70,000 sq. ft. of space and is a little over a block long.

I commend the Y for investing in west Louisville and bringing much needed services to a part of town that needs them. The Y deserves big kudos for that. But does the Y need to tear down such a large historic structure to build a much smaller Y?

Across 18th street there is a large vacant lot that will become a development known as NewBridge Crossing. According to InsiderLouisivlle.com there is a major big box retailer looking into moving into that site. If that happens I'm sure they will need most of the 19 acres that the site currently occupies. Why didn't Y choose to move across the street into the NewBridge Crossing development? According to various articles in the Courier-Journal. The original plans for NewBridge Crossing called for a lifestyle center (think an urban Summit) that included condos, UL pediatrics, and the YMCA. SO, if the YMCA was a part of the original plans for NewBridge Crossing what happened? I don't know, but I think that deserves some investigation.

What really got my attention were the plans for the old Phillip Morris warhouse in question. In those plans, TMG (developers of NewBridge Crossing) wanted to turn the warehouse into a Boutique Hotel, with condos and apartments. There is another newer warehouse on the site that faces 18th that was suppose to be a convention center. Call me crazy, but that is a much better use of the property than a YMCA.

The YMCA is a great project and much needed in west Louisville, just not at 18th and Broadway. This part of west Louisville already has a YMCA at 10th and Chestnut, and there is a great workout facility at St. Stephen's Baptist Church right off of 16th st.  A better place for the YMCA would be near Park Duvall, Shawnee, or the Chickasaw neighborhoods. Those areas are severally underserve. Not the Russell/California area.

The development plan presented by TMG is a much better fit for the area and is what this community truly needs. How many more jobs would the boutique hotel/convention provide rather than the Y? How many more spin off businesses would that kind of development spur as opposed to the Y? I know there are a lot of nay sayers that doubt a hotel can work in west Louisville. I understand your doubts. But you have to remember what is directly behind this warehouse. Brown-Forman. How many executives does Brown Forman fly in or host on a yearly basis? I'm sure they fly in hundreds of people. A hotel that is less than a block away from their corporate HQ would be a perfect fit.

This is they type of responsible urban development that Louisville needs. Which leads me to another question. What happened to this project? If TMG had plans for the property why did they fall through?

I don't think it's too late to save the warehouse nor do I think it's too late for a win/win outcome for all parties involved. This is something we need to make happen.