City maps out 10-year vision for Butchertown, Phoenix Hill & NuLu – WLKY Louisville

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After more than two years, Louisville Metro Government has completed work on the Butchertown, Phoenix Hill and NuLu neighborhood plan.
The 10-year plan sets a vision for three of Louisville’s fastest-growing neighborhoods based on community input. Work began on the study in August of 2019 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael King, director of the Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability, said the pandemic prevented the city from hosting larger-scale community forums, forcing them to come up with different ways to engage residents.
“We went out and set up kind of pop-up tables on the corner just to catch folks as they were walking up and down the street,” King said.
They also canvassed the neighborhoods and received more than 400 responses from online surveys.
“It provides that vision that was established at a community level. It’s not a vision that metro came up with or anything like that,” King said.
Butchertown, Phoenix Hill, and NuLu have experienced rapid growth in recent years. It was that growth that led former Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith to request the study at the urging of people in her district.
Kevin Dohn is a board member for the Butchertown Neighborhood Association. He says they are excited about the new development, but also want to maintain the character of the neighborhood.
“The neighborhood and the residents are trying to navigate what that means for what used to be kind of a secluded neighborhood, at least here in Butchertown,” Dohn said.
The plan identifies several priority areas, including the Broadway corridor. It not only examines ways to spur more development along the iconic roadway, but also how to better connect it to the waterfront.
“You have these connections that go from downtown to these neighborhoods and districts, but you don’t have these connections that seamlessly move you down to the river or down to the waterfront or vice versa,” King said.
The plan identifies Hancock and Clay Streets as two of those possible connections. It maps out opportunities for future mixed-use, office, entertainment, and residential development. The so-called “mixed-use spine” would link Broadway with one of Butchertown’s newest tenants — Lynn Family Stadium.
The plan looks at ways to reconfigure streets around the stadium and beautify the many viaducts to create a stadium district that opens up to the already re-developed waterfront.
The study also looked at ways to promote a more green neighborhood.
“Beargrass Creek really came to the forefront for everybody as sort of this untapped opportunity,” King said.
The plan calls for transforming the creek into a world-class greenway that would eventually connect to Cherokee Park and the Louisville Zoo. It also aims to shape development along the Beargrass Creek corridor so new buildings face and engage a revitalized waterfront.
“Waterways are huge and I think we’ve got one right here that we could utilize whether its simply in the way of cleaning it up for more canoe or hiking activity or whether it’s building a boardwalk or things like that,” Dohn said.
Despite the excitement for the plan, there are still concerns about what all these improvements could mean for longtime residents.
The plan does highlight a need for equity and affordability and promotes seeking out more diverse housing that welcomes all income types. It also encourages working with local businesses to establish hiring and operational policies that combat systemic racism.
“If we had one thing that was still kind of missing it would be that because affordable housing is still a big question,” Dohn said. “How do we keep people from being pushed out?”
The neighborhood plan will go up before the planning committee for its initial review on Friday.
The Louisville Metro Council will have final approval of the plan, which is expected to take up to two months.
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