Downtown Revitalization Team releases action plan outlining next steps for a vibrant, clean and welcoming downtown

June 01, 2021

The Downtown Revitalization Team today presented a plan detailing ways that Louisville Metro Government, businesses and community partners will work together to bring people and businesses back downtown as the state lifts pandemic restrictions.

The group of downtown stakeholders presented the plan to Mayor Greg Fischer at the final Downtown Revitalization Team meeting.

“The action plan presented today will keep Louisville on its path to build back better together following 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued calls for racial justice,” said the Mayor. “The Downtown Revitalization Team’s work isn’t about bringing downtown back to what it was; it’s about making it better by ensuring that our downtown is vibrant, clean, safe, equitable, and inclusive, so that everyone feels like an essential part of, and is welcome in, downtown.”

The plan focuses on clean and green efforts, safety, public infrastructure improvements, events, and marketing. The activities are divided into completion windows – 30 days, 60 to 90 days and 120 days-plus. Some measures will be dependent on financing through either Louisville Metro’s budget, American Rescue Plan stimulus funds or private dollars.

Louisville Metro’s recommended FY22 budget includes $14.5 million of projects downtown, including $8 million for Waterfront Park Phase IV. In addition to the city projects, the action plan reflects more than $13 million in recommendations.

An advisory group will continue to work with the city and Louisville Downtown Partnership staff to focus on prioritizing and implementing recommendations as funding is secured.

Some action items include:

  • Hiring new Business Improvement District ambassadors
  • Improving the RiverWalk from 3rd Street to 7th Street
  • Hosting free outdoor concerts with the Louisville Orchestra
  • Plan downtown events, including Whiskey Alley event series, The Black Out: Arts Festival on the Belvedere and Broadway Under the Stars
  • Replacing streetlights
  • Developing a master calendar and mobile application highlighting businesses, events and notable downtown destinations
  • Growing marketing efforts around the “Downtown Strong” and “Lou Needs You” campaigns

Already, Louisville Metro, with the assistance of Louisville Downtown Partnership, has cleaned up more than 200 instances of graffiti, and through the Mayor’s Clean Collaborative, three new ambassadors were hired to clean outside the Business Improvement District and collected roughly 5,000 pounds of litter and debris in April and May.

Louisville Downtown Partnership placed 124 flowerpots throughout the Business Improvement District, revised its printed downtown hospitality map, and repaired or replaced 14 digital kiosks.

Louisville Metro also has hired three of four Homeless Communications Coordinators to connect our city’s homeless population to services, and the city anticipates investing some American Rescue Plan funds in efforts to combat homelessness.

Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Downtown Partnership will continue to work together to implement the plan developed by the Downtown Revitalization Team.

“It was a privilege to work with so many dedicated residents of our community and I’m excited about the ideas outlined in the plan by the Louisville Downtown Revitalization Team. I look forward to Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Downton Partnership successful implementation of this plan and am optimistic that it will make downtown Louisville even better than it was for all of our residents and visitors,” said Douglas Edwards, co-chair of the Downtown Revitalization Team Steering Committee and senior vice president of workplace experience at Humana.

“Downtown Louisville is the heart of our city. After a challenging 15 months, the action plan presented today provides a short-term roadmap for making downtown a vibrant, dynamic, and inclusive place for all. I’m excited to see what we accomplish through the rest of this year,” said Mariah Gratz, co-chair of the Downtown Revitalization Team Steering Committee and CEO of Weyland Ventures.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for racial justice, Mayor Fischer formed the Downtown Revitalization Team in January to identify ways to reinvigorate downtown Louisville and ensure it is a welcoming place for all Louisvillians and visitors. The team met at least twice monthly and is comprised of more than 100 stakeholders, including business and property owners, executives, tourism officials, nonprofit leaders, and city employees.

The Downtown Revitalization Team worked in committees around issues ranging from public safety, vacant and underutilized office space, tourism, arts and culture, diversity, equity & inclusion, small businesses, downtown residents, and the messaging and perception of downtown. A steering committee also would come together to share the ideas that had emerged during committee discussion, committee goals, and the action steps needed to be taken to move from concept to reality.

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