Mayor Greg Fischer, community leaders and Russell residents celebrated the completion of the first phase of “SmArt Stop” bus shelters that are planned for the Russell community as part of on-going efforts to revitalize and provide physical improvements to the neighborhood. The structures are one of the projects being funded through the $1 million Choice Neighborhood Action Activities grant awarded to Louisville Metro Housing Authority in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Louisville Metro Government is also providing an additional $375,000 to support planned action activities for the area.
“All of the SmART stops will provide thousands of residents who live and travel within this community with an artistic visual reminder of the unique characteristics and rich history of the Russell neighborhood,” said the Mayor. “The structures also reflect the input from the Russell residents who helped to guide the design of each of the stops and ensure that they capture those qualities that help to make this neighborhood a special and important place in our community.”
The SmArt Stops were developed in collaboration with Russell residents and other key stakeholders. The first phase of the project includes stops at the corner of 23rd and Market in front of the Catholic Charities downtown campus and the corner of 11th and Chestnut Streets next to Central High School. The new Market street stop welcomes visitors and residents to the area in several languages and reflects the diverse clients and services that Catholic Charites provides to refugees moving to the area, while the structure at Chestnut Street acknowledges the rich academic tradition of Central High School.
Lisa DeJaco Crutcher, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc., believes the SmArt Stop located in front of their Market street campus not only fills a practical need for many clients, but also sends an important message to those travelling to the campus.
“It’s not only the Catholic Charities staff who welcome our refugee clients, but also the city as a whole.”
Phase One of the SmArt Stops were designed by VBNA Architects. The remaining stops are expected to be unveiled later this year and will be located near other prominent destination spots within Russell Neighborhood.
Other projects being funded through the Choice Neighborhood Action Activities grant include improvements to Sheppard Park, the transformation of select vacant lots within the Russell neighborhood into amenities for the neighborhood and the development of four large-scale murals on selected railroad overpasses that will help to create signature gateways into the community.
Mayor Fischer believes the selection process for the four action activity projects exemplifies the important role residents’ play in transforming a community. A neighborhood-wide polling process was conducted early in the planning process with residents to identify their highest priorities for improvements, and dealing with the large number of vacant lots within Russell, along with park upgrades, and high-quality bus stops with protection from the weather and seating topped the list.
All the action activity projects are part of the larger transformation efforts underway in the Russell Neighborhood, including the redevelopment of Beecher Terrace that is being supported by a $29.5 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant awarded to Louisville Metro and LMHA by HUD in December 2016.
“The success and changes taking place in Russell is largely due to commitment and efforts of the residents who have remained engaged in every stage of these redevelopment initiatives,” said Mayor Fischer. “This has allowed us to move forward with improvements and changes that will benefit the Russell residents and the entire city for many years to come.”
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May 18, 2018 Christi Lanier Robinson