A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State officials, local business leaders meet to discuss West Louisville Redevelopment Opportunities

Gov. Bevin and state and local leaders joined approximately 90 business owners, non-profit directors, charities, restauranteurs, law firm partners and other business-related stakeholders gathered in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood last week to discuss opportunities on revitalizing west Louisville.

The event, held at Caudill Seed’s Whole Alternatives organic foods facility on West Main Street, provided an initial chance for audience members to dialogue on the needs and ideas for economic redevelopment in the area while learning about resources the federal, state and metro governments can provide.

During the meeting, Gov. Bevin discussed the importance of strong, grassroots involvement from community stakeholders in any economic development effort.

“I am committing to you that I will work personally with those of you who are committed to seriously making west Louisville and the city of Louisville the best version of itself it can be,” Gov. Bevin told the audience. “We need to provide on-ramps to the American Dream.”

Gov. Bevin stressed the importance of creating jobs in the community and the personal dignity that employment provides. He noted that with the support of committed involvement from area employers, west Louisville can become an attractive location for businesses to invest and create new jobs.

“Are neighborhoods doing what they can to pick up trash, to cut their own grass and, if need be, board up abandoned buildings? Is the city fulfilling its responsibility to these neighborhoods? Is the state fulfilling its responsibilities? It’s a multi-pronged thing,” Gov. Bevin added.

The first half of the meeting included a presentation by Dr. Darrell Scott, CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, and Kareem Lanier, COO of the Urban Revitalization Coalition. The two outlined a 13-Point Program for urban revitalization, which they intend to discuss at similar meetings in cities across the country. Louisville, they said, could be an initial location for implementation of the 13-Point Program.

Dan Caudill, the meeting’s host and co-owner of Caudill Seed, a second-generation family business employing about 100 people, welcomed the participants and echoed the importance of investment in west Louisville.

“This event is to encourage jobs and investment in west Louisville,” Caudill said. “This is a 71-year-old company and we’ve been able to access an incredible workforce here in west Louisville. Many of our employees walk to work or ride bicycles or ride the bus and they’re great. Our company believes west Louisville’s time has come, and we want to encourage the community’s growth.”

During the final half-hour of the event, Gov. Bevin responded to questions and listened to feedback from audience members. Topics included education, workforce training, infrastructure needs such as lighting, public safety and property redevelopment.

Following the meeting, Vivek Sarin, executive officer of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, said the event began a much-needed conversation.

“This was a first step and we were here to listen and dialogue. We planted seeds today and will look to water them with our partners as we go forward together,” Sarin said. “If community interest exists in making broader plans and moving forward on initiatives to redevelop west Louisville, Gov. Bevin and our team will need everyone’s input and participation.”

From Cabinet for Economic Development

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