Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Revitalizing Russell Pt 2

Times are rough and tough like leather...
Raekwon the Chef

This has been much harder to write than I had initially thought. In part 1 I gave you a short history on how we got to where we are. In this part I wanted to give some concrete solutions about what can be done. I was going to write a long piece about what should be done, but because of my radio show and other events we are doing I didn't have the time. Instead I'm going talk about a couple of ideas that I had.

1) 8664

I can't speak for CARR on this one, but I can speak for myself. We need to tear down 64 as it runs through downtown, and create waterfront park west. This would help to reconnect Western Louisville to the rest of the city and would also help to spur redevelopment dollars west of 9th street.

The reason I like the 8664 plan is because it reconnects our city back to our biggest resource. The River. It would save Kentucky almost $1 Billion. Build the East End bridge, tear down 8664, and expand Waterfront Park west.

2) If you are going to build low income housing and apartments all over Russell at least make them mixed income. If you are going to build a low income apartment complex make it mixed income. Have 1/4 for residents of public housing, 1/4 for senior citizens, 1/4 income based, and 1/4 market rate.

This brings the diversity that a neighborhood needs in-order to re-stabilize itself. If the city is going to build apartment buildings they should also look at building a mixed use building. Apartments above and retail below.

3) Bring back the forgivable second mortgage. When we purchased our house we used the forgivable second mortgage and it was a big help. However, that money was just for new construction. We should expand that to include rehabbed housing. That way we could save some of the older houses that are still in the neighborhood and keep our identity.

Although the housing market is relatively weak, I think having a second forgivable mortgage, the one time $8000 first time home buyer, and the recently passed tax breaks for building/remodeling green we should be able to move some houses.

4) If we build these houses and apartments then we should look at partnering with Youth Build to build some of these units. That way we can train kids in the area to build houses in their/our neighborhood. They would learn not only how to build houses, but to build green. Thus preparing them for the future, and hopefully providing a financial foundation on which the community can grow.

These are just some of my ideas. More to follow.