The World I Know Edition of District 8 eNews is Live!

September 12, 2019
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Brandon Coan

Councilman 

Brandon Coan

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Jasmine Weatherby
Legislative Aide

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Tel: 574-1108

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Welcome: At Dawn

Bardstown Road is hurting.  Since at least the late-90s, local government has massively subsidized both downtown revitalization and suburban expansion almost entirely to the exclusion of the old streetcar commercial corridors.  The southeastern sprawl has exacerbated commuter traffic.  Neighborhood-serving shops have been replaced by auto-oriented fast food drive-thrus, gas stations and oil change places.  The road has become more hostile to pedestrians and bicyclists, more littered.  The historic fabric has been disturbed by strip malls and big boxes.  Local, independent business icons have passed on into the realm of legend.  The music has stopped.  There is no more caramel ice cream.  The chains have crept in.  Too many property owners have checked out.  Social ills are on the rise and public services are on the fall.  There is a dearth of police, code and zoning enforcement officers.  A handful of bars may yet still ruin the late-night economy.  The Doomsday Clock is at two minutes to midnight.  What is the best motorcycle for the zombie apocalypse? 

Over the last three years, I have tried to reverse – or at least slow – the decline of Bardstown Road to the best of my ability, authority and resources.  I have budgeted tens of thousands of dollars for police overtime, street sweeping and litter and graffiti abatement.  I have planted 116 street trees, installed 23 new litter bins, refurbished 78 others, fabricated 96 no parking during rush hour signs and removed 949 drinkers from behind the wheel.  I have fought for the creation of a business improvement district and proposed a plan to take back the street for local traffic.  I have made safety improvements at Douglass Boulevard; and Highland Avenue is next.  More crosswalks are coming soon.  More bus stop seating, too.  I have passed ordinances to delay the demolition of historic buildings.  I have established a loan program to make businesses more accessible to people with physical disabilities.  I have intervened to stop the development of mini-warehouses – I mean, “boutique storage facilities” – and the proliferation of liquor stores.  I have tried to salvage the Goodfellas project and otherwise anchor the north end.  I have brought neighborhood associations together to empower them in numbers and supported new neighborhood plans up and down the corridor.  I have consulted local leaders on podcasts, in coffee shops and at their kitchen tables.  I have…barely made a dent.    

But remember: the darkest hour is just before the dawn.  I believe a new era of a better Bardstown Road is upon us and one of the most important events to usher it in will be on Monday, September 23rd at 11:30am, when Mayor Greg Fischer will address the Highland Commerce Guild.  The location is Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana, 2440 Grinstead Avenue.  Tickets, including Morris’ Deli box lunches, are $15.00.   Doors open at 11:00am.  Please show up.  I know the mayor has a vision of Bardstown Road as a diverse, thriving business corridor, too, but he needs to understand directly from you the urgency for his administration to act now.  Tell him about trying to sleep at 3 a.m. on Morton Avenue.  Tell him how you feel walking down the street near Grinstead Drive.  Tell him what your restaurant or retail store or barber shop is dealing with.  Then: listen; give the man a chance to think and speak and commit.  If you do – and if he does – then together we can bring Bardstown Road back.

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Speaking of street sweeping and litter abatement, the Baxter-Bardstown Anti-Litter Leadership (BBALL) pilot concluded on September 4th.  Beginning April 3rd, approximately 180 45-gallon bags of garbage were removed from the sidewalks, adjoining landscape and curb areas.  An estimated 20 cubic yards of road debris – the size of a medium roll-off container – was removed from the street and gutters.  The accumulation consisted of everything from bottles and cans, cigarette butts and paper products to sand and gravel.  Please take this short survey to assist with our program evaluation.  Thank you.

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Finally, in memory of September 11th, I want to share something personal with you.  On October 9th, 2001, in the wake of 9/11, I was a sad and scared young man, a student at the University of Michigan, when I happened to be flipping through the channels and landed on C-SPAN.  As part of the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives’ Distinguished Speakers Series, former President Clinton spoke about current international issues and voiced his support to President Bush and the U.S. military in the effort to control terrorism.  Following the speech, James Carville interviewed the former president about leadership and national and international issues.  The event took place in the Kennedy Center concert hall.  It changed my life.  Less than 20 months later I was working for the former president in Harlem.  Now, almost 20 years later, in a world that can still seem unrecognizable sometimes, his words continue to comfort and inspire.  I hope you like it: An Evening with Former President Clinton.

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For breaking news and information, please follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  If you have a question or comment, please call me at: (502) 574-1108 or email: brandon.coan@louisvilleky.gov (and copy jasmine.weatherby@louisvilleky.gov).  If you have a service request, please call Metro 311 or visit Metro 311 online.  Visit the District 8 Strategic Plan page here.