Be Part of It: Shelby Park and Smoketown

What do Victor Mature and Muhammad Ali have in common?  They hammered out what they would be in life in Louisville’s Smoketown and Shelby Park.

The Hollywood matinee idol and The Greatest knew well the gym at Old PCC, the narrow jogs of Camp and Finzer streets and the corner markets.  From their edge of East Broadway, they could imagine another world.  And, after conquering that world, they came home. 

Smoketown and Shelby Park neighborhoods can shape more lives, and create new legends if you help us get the story right.

These two contiguous historic neighborhoods are experiencing a targeted community stabilization initiative.  Residents and stakeholders have demonstrated their values and support for change to include image development as well as other aspects of community stabilization.  New Directions has been a steward for revitalization resources and supports this and the overall stabilization effort with staffing and resources.  A two-year vision and planning process created a Quality of Life Action Plan that’s coming to life.  The marketing plan would complement this fresh planning effort.

Advocacy and opportunity — it’s happening here. When New Directions got a share of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, we knew where to put it. We bulldozed blight on Shelby Park’s East Saint Catherine Street, built six quality homes and they sold. Multifamily sites have been redeveloped, saving both urban tree canopy and valuable housing. YouthBuild Louisville dedicated a Green Campus and neighborhood businesses are assembling an association.

In May 2011, HUD’s Director Shawn Donavan announced that the barracks-style housing authority property would go, removing a 60-year barrier to Broadway commerce and downtown Louisville.  Nearly 20 acres of redeveloped housing will take its place.

Angels of optimism, promise and hope have a chance to change decades of decline. We can almost see the tipping point. To rebuild confidence, residents and businesses know that a strong image campaign and marketing plan are essential.  Residents are trying new things.  The Shelby Park Neighborhood Association just got the green light for one of only 15 Kentucky Historic Markers for the Olmstead-designed park.  They are on Facebook.  Victor Mature’s image will soon adorn a three-story neighborhood building as part of the “Louisville’s Own” heroes series. 

For more information, read the Smoketown and Shelby Park Quality of Life Action Plan

5Cs - Drivers of Community Stabilization

A paradigm developed by the National Community Stabilization Trust to help define and identify effective local community stabilization efforts.

Comprehensive - Community stabilization efforts should result from a plan that addresses all destabilizing forces in the community.

Concentration - Community stabilization efforts should be targeted for maximum impact.

Collaboration - Community stabilization efforts should include a broad array of partners with a strong focus on resident engagement.

Capacity - Community stabilization efforts should be undertaken by organizations with demonstrated capacity in the planned activities.

Capital - Community stabilization efforts should be adequately capitalized and explore creative methods to take advantage of new sources of capital.