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Greg Fischer Unveiled Neighborhood “Plan”

September 14th, 2010 by jake · 33 Comments

Greg Fischer held a presser this morning in Clifton Heights about neighborhoods. I just… well… here’s part of the press release:

Creating Neighborhood Action Teams to solve neighborhood problems. Giving Dixie and Preston highways “extreme road makeovers.” Developing vibrant after-school programs in neighborhoods. Greening neighborhoods by planting tress and weatherizing homes.

“Louisville is a city of vibrant neighborhoods, and it’s time we invested them, just as we have invested in downtown,” Fischer said. “I will be a mayor for all parts of the city, from Valley Station to Prospect, Russell to Fern Creek, and I’ll make sure that our neighborhoods come first.”

-SNIP-

To help implement his vision, Fisher proposes the creation of the Neighborhood Development Corporation, whose purpose is to improve and develop neighborhoods, just as the Downtown Development Corporation has focused on downtown development. The corporation would use existing city resources and staff from various city departments, including Housing; Inspections Permits & Licenses; Planning and Design; and Metro Parks, among others. The corporation also would partner with organizations such as the non-profit Center for Neighborhoods and the Department of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville.

The corporation would be comprised of citizens, neighborhood and subdivision leaders, small city elected officials, Metro Council members, faith based and community leaders and others.

It would develop a blueprint for improving neighborhoods, with significant input from citizens, and identify funding sources for projects. It would also release a yearly report card to the residents to keep them informed about the status of improvements.

While I applaud his alleged support of neighborhoods – something Jerry Abramson has tried to ignore – I couldn’t for the life of me find anything genuine in what he had to say today. If anyone disagrees with me, please chime in and tell me why. And be specific about it, because I honestly want to find out why I’m supposed to believe Greg Fischer has any clue what neighborhoods are actually like in this city.

In the meantime, here are his ten big points for neighborhoods:

  1. Creating Neighborhood Action Teams comprised of representatives from police, fire, city code inspectors and others who go directly into neighborhoods to identify problems and solve them immediately. These teams, which will meet with neighbors at their homes, coffee shops and houses of worship, will tackle everything from vacant houses to broken sidewalks to dangerous intersections. Benefit to you: Neighborhood problems solved quickly and efficiently.
  2. Selling vacant and abandoned homes for $1 and providing no-interest loans for rehab. The city, under Greg’s leadership, will be more aggressive in gaining control of vacant, dilapidated and abandoned properties, then selling those homes to families, non-profit organizations and churches. Greg will hold a yearly news conference to highlight the 10 most deadbeat property owners to shame them into action. The city will also provide no-interest loans to help rehab the homes. Benefit to you: Creating new housing for families while also protecting the architectural fabric of our community and revitalizing neighborhoods.
  3. Giving major thoroughfares such as Dixie and Preston highways and Shelbyville Road Extreme Road Makeovers, including synchronized stoplights and, where possible, trees and sidewalks and bus stops. These investments will also encourage business investments and growth. Benefit to you: Reduced traffic congestion, especially during rush hours; better roads attract more businesses.
  4. Peep the other seven points after the jump…

  5. Creating the Bull’s Eye program to target historical commercial centers such as Parkland in West Louisville and the Okolona Center on Preston Highway with targeted incentives to attract new restaurants and retail. The city will offer no-interest and forgivable loans to business and property owners to encourage investments. Local businesses, rather than out-of-town companies, will get first priority for the loans. Benefit to you: More restaurants, stores and shops in your neighborhood, near your home.
  6. Building the Southwest Library on Dixie Highway in Valley Station. Also begin planning the two other regional libraries — near Jefferson Mall in Okolona and in the Lyndon area by the Northeast YMCA. These libraries will be heavy with technology. Benefit to you: With these three projects, 90 percent of Louisville residents will be located within five miles of a major library.
  7. Building Spokes, a system of multi-use paved trails that will connect neighborhoods to schools, parks, churches, shopping centers, and the 100-mile Louisville Loop. Parents will be able to push their strollers out their front door and onto the spokes. Children and teenagers will have places to bike and hike off busy roads. Where possible, these spokes will connect to schools to provide safe walking routes. Benefit to you: Places for children to play and walk without worrying about traffic; places for families to exercise.
  8. Developing vibrant neighborhood after-school programs, in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools, private and Catholic schools, businesses, arts groups, non-profits, faith-based groups, community centers and the city’s library system. These programs will be world-class, offering everything from tutoring to field trips to healthy meals and snacks. Benefit to you: Children get increased education/tutoring time and keeps children off the streets and out of trouble.
  9. Increase the presence of police in our neighborhoods, by requiring officers to regularly walk their beat through the Walk-A-Mile program. Police officers will also be encouraged to join neighborhood and business associations and to become integral parts of the neighborhoods they serve. Benefit to you: Better relations between police and neighborhoods; protecting your property and further reducing crime.
  10. Green neighborhoods by planting 10,000 trees during the first term; weatherizing homes to make them energy-efficient; encouraging rain barrels to water lawns and gardens. The city will work closely with neighborhood associations, condominium and apartment groups and subdivision residents to determine the areas most in need of new trees, identify homes that need weatherizing and teach people how to use rain barrels to keep stormwater out of the sewer system. Benefit to you: Reduce heating and cooling bills; improves neighborhood appearance.
  11. Lead the effort to restore and protect Louisville’s historic neighborhoods and homes. Louisville has a large collection of historic properties that make our neighborhoods unique, and our citizens need the tax incentives and credits to help with renovation and preservation. Currently, state tax credits are capped at $5 million annually for all of Kentucky. Greg will work with the state legislature to increase or remove that cap so more people can take advantage of credits. Benefit to you: Preserves the best architecture of our neighborhoods and gives homeowners incentives to invest in their property.

Tags: Greg Fischer · Mayor's Race 2010 · Neighborhoods

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    The Center for Neighborhoods does a lot of good work and it would be great to see city government partner with them to a greater extent. The Southwest Library is also a worthy project in an area that was underserved under the old City-County library system and still is.

  • 2 Big Daddy // Sep 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Taking these on one by one:

    1- Isn’t this part of what the council critters should be doing already?

    2-Does this include the house next door to Genny’s?

    3-I believe this has already been started. I remember some kind of announcement that Mayor McCheese had that they were spending a couple of million on the light sync

    4-Agree, but most of these type properties are in shambles. Need to add these to item #2

    5-Libraries are slowly becoming obsolete. How about investing on a community WiFi network?

    6-I think this is already in the works

    7-Love it, but uh, who pays for this one?

    8-Like it, but have you seen a few of the LMPD guys? Physical fitness for cops ain’t what it used to be

    9-Already being done with Project Warm-how many times do we have to insulate and fix up someone’s digs? Rain Barrels? WTH? Don’t we pay extra on our MSD bill for drainage and sewers? First-where do they get emptied-INTO THE GROUNDWATER Secondly you now create an issue with the dumbasses who don’t dump the barrells-now you have a great breeding ground for mosquitos and the dreaded West Nile..Trees? Ah yes everyone loves trees. How about planting them in the vacant lots??(See Basil Marceaux)

    10-Give the funds to Frank Farris and let him fix up his nice home.

    All these proposals see to be either rehashed or are already in progress…Give us something new

    10-

  • 3 Thinker // Sep 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Hmmm…Sounds good, but #2 leaves me wondering if we are going to ignore people’s due process rights and seize property a la LMAS (only this time it’s real estate instead of pets). Is the plan to take property from those who cannot afford to fight for it? How long do you think it will be before we are facing yet another lawsuit for violation of people’s constitutional rights? No Greg Abramson for me, thanks.

  • 4 Bubbles LaRue // Sep 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    “Louisville is a city of vibrant neighborhoods, and it’s time we invested them, just as we have invested in downtown.”
    ~~~

    Ooh! Bubbles just can’t wait for her very own community make-over, and for Cordish to get more “don’t-ask-don’t tell” contracts to do it!

  • 5 Ixnay // Sep 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    How do I prove or disprove that Fischer is genuine in his proposals/plans? I know first hand that his work with the Southwest Dream Team, taking recommendations from the people there are reflected in this plan. How do I help you find something “genuine” do you mean “original”? I can tell you that no one has articulated a plan as detailed as these 10 for our area before.

  • 6 jake // Sep 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Uh, are you crazy or just selectively not remembering the plans Tyler Allen, Jim King, Hal Heiner, Jackie Green, David Tandy and others have released?

  • 7 Bubbles LaRue // Sep 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    “The city will offer no-interest and forgivable loans to business and property owners to encourage investments. ”

    Golly! I just love free money! I think I’ll whip up a plan to expand LaRue’s Pancake House into a second location on Dixie next to that guy with the big catfish sign AND create a new menu item: Fried Pancakes!

    Doesn’t that just sound yummy? (The money, I mean…). Gosh! It’ll be just like Christmas!

    Hey, wait a minute! Aren’t a lot of folks in those neighborhoods out of jobs and losing their homes? Who’s gonna buy my danged fried pancakes when I open a store down there?

    I’ll bet that free money thing’s one of those whatcha-call-it’s that politicians always say when they want you to vote for them. Naughty man!

  • 8 Bubbles LaRue // Sep 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    “Increase the presence of police in our neighborhoods, by requiring officers to regularly walk their beat through the Walk-A-Mile program.”
    ~~~
    Well, this is the best news I’ve heard yet! Mr. Fischer wants to expand the number of officers working for the LMPD!

    That’s what I’m assuming he means because goodness sakes, if I’m standing in the middle of the Pancake House and someone’s holdin’ a gun to my head wantin’ me to empty my till, I’d better not call 911 and be told they’ll have someone stroll right over!

  • 9 Eden Springs // Sep 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    ” Is the plan to take property from those who cannot afford to fight for it? ”

    Thinker: Don’t you recognize Redistribution of Wealth when you see it?

  • 10 Cavemouse // Sep 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Cops join the business and neighborhood associations? First ya gotta get them to LIVE in Metro. Louisville!! Half of them live in Indiana!!

  • 11 The Highlander // Sep 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I knew I’d heard this bull crap before. It was from Harvey Sloane. Same crap. Neighborhood offices. Everybody feel good. George’s son is looking more and more like the rehash of another Harvey. When it’s all over I hope he (and his wife) turn out better and happier than Harvey and Kathy — AND THE THE CITY TURNS OUT BETTER THAN IT HAS AS A RESULT OF HARVEY AND KATHY.

  • 12 Ixnay // Sep 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    crazy. Uninformed

  • 13 Ixnay // Sep 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    But, literal: Genuine=real. Original=new; fresh; inventive; novel.

    Regardless of my crazy, uninformed knowledge of the candidates not running anymore and my INFORMED opinion of Heiner’s plan I believe Fischer’s to be genuine and sincere. I’ve talken my medication today. Have you taken yours?

    You seem tense.

  • 14 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    If Fischer was really “Greg Abramson” he would be focused on downtown arenas/malls instead of actually articulating some ideas about neighborhoods. The ideas might not be perfect, but I’m not buying that this is Abramson-lite on neighborhood policy

  • 15 Ixnay // Sep 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Does Heiner’s site have a direct link to thevillevoice or what? If I Bing 8664 will thevillevoice link up?

    Boy am I gonna get the shizzballz for this one…

  • 16 jake // Sep 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Really, Christy, are you retarded?

    If you don’t like it? Don’t read it. I’m not holding a gun to your head demanding that you read and comment.

  • 17 Ixnay // Sep 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    No not “retarded”. (Nice word tho). Just venting. Like that you give me the opportunity to. I’ll stop reading and commenting. Bye now.

  • 18 John G. // Sep 14, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Isn’t this a rehash of the department of neighborhoods? That didn’t work out too well for the neighborhoods or anyone else.

    Big Daddy, Libraries are far from becoming obsolete, usage and circulation continue to go up, not down. Don’t we already have a plan for libraries? So this really isn’t new, except maybe for trying to placate the South End with promises of resources that will not be realized post election.

  • 19 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Progressives who want to diss Fischer on libraries should remember that it was Heiner who provided cover for library tax opponents with the irresponsible lie that we could have world-class libraries without a tax.

  • 20 jake // Sep 14, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Personally, I don’t believe we’d have world class libraries with or without a tax. Let’s get real. We live in Louisville, Kentucky, where people like Jerry Abramson and Anne Northup get elected.

    That said – the library tax failed (not because of jackass Chris Thieneman, either) because no one could explain the dang thing and because no one wanted to guarantee where the funds would go.

  • 21 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t share your defeatist attitude about the city, but you are probably right about this since the libraries start out so bad to begin with.

    More importantly though, the polls showed the measure would pass until Heiner joined the Theineman camp and misled anti-tax but pro-library voters by saying that the goals of the tax proponents could be achieved without a tax. That simply wasn’t true. Even Republicans like Ellen Call came forward to say Heiner’s statements were false.

  • 22 jake // Sep 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    How’s that defeatist?

    My attitude is this: I think Louisville is one of the best cities in the country. It’s why I’m here.

    I have no desire to be world class and every desire to be Louisville class. This city needs to stop trying to be bigger than its britches.

    The reality is the library tax didn’t pass because no one could understand it – not because of alleged motives of folks like Heiner. And because people in this city weren’t comfy letting Jerry Abramson have $16 million or whatever to add to the general fund without a guarantee that the regular funding and additional funding would both go to the libraries. Can’t change that.

    I doubt there’d be any library improvement by now if the tax had passed. Or in ten years. Or whenever. Because metro govt is a flustercuck. Do you remember Crit Luallen’s last audit? Hot mess that is not improving.

  • 23 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    “I don’t believe we’d have world class libraries with or without a tax. Let’s get real. We live in Louisville, Kentucky” – sounds defeatist to me.

    And even with your explanation, I still don’t see how trying to improve things all across town – and there are a lot of things that need improving – is getting bigger than our britches. “Louisville class” sounds like more of the same to me.

    What is “alleged” about Heiner’s motives? He was against it – and along with Theineman – was the face of opposition to it.

    Moreover, I don’t think a bipartisan majority of the council – and a whole bunch of conservatives in the business community – supported the tax because they wanted to give Jerry free money. I think they knew that a dedicated revenue stream would have made extending services to underserved areas easier and improved services at the existing libraries.

  • 24 jake // Sep 14, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Trying to be “world class” was what I said. You’ll note that I didn’t mention jack about improving services citywide.

    Motives = re folks like Jerry Abramson.

    A dedicated revenue stream would be good. But let’s get real: those funds weren’t guaranteed to the library. And Jerry’d said publicly the funds could be used to replace the current funding for the library.

  • 25 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    You’re right – you didn’t mention services. But why do you see trying to be “world class” as a threat to the city? I’ve always thought trying to do things better is a good thing – and I don’t see “getting too big for our britches” as a serious issue right now.

    I agree with you that the tax proposal wasn’t perfect, and some of the existing funds would have gone elsewhere. But again, Heiner’s argument wasn’t about those issues. It was that we could do everything we could do with the tax with no tax. That was fundamentally dishonest.

  • 26 jake // Sep 14, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    I don’t see it as a threat to the city. I see it as a pipe dream along the same lines as that “16th Largest City” shiz.

    The same goals can be achieved without taking additional tax dollars. I’m pretty sure that’s reality.

    So how was Heiner being dishonest?

  • 27 CrescentHillion // Sep 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    His proposals for bonding the cost of library expansion, without a dedicated revenue stream, were not honest and he was called out on it by Ellen Call, as I said above.

  • 28 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Sep 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    The library tax went down because enough people saw it for what it was, which was a slush fund to be utilized at Jerry’s will. The lack of sunset provision and the almost immediate announcement by Jerry of city government cuts after its defeat are proof of that.

    They thought that nobody would vote against literacy and kids. Pretty packaging for a tax hike on businesses and people would work within the city.

  • 29 JTT // Sep 14, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Libraries are INFORMATION and information drives the world nowadays. I often have to seek out information that actually – big surprise – isn’t on the Internet – and the only place to get it is the library.

    As for the rest of his ideas, sounds nice, but not real world. LMPD officers now are literally running from call to call, and calls are backed up, how long do you want to wait for an officer to make their way back to their car and then dash to your call? We need a dedicated downtown foot patrol, but it needs to be just that, a scheduled, dedicated unit, not pulling an officer off their beat for an hour a day, they don’t HAVE an hour a day to spend strolling around. We are so shorthanded with respect to officers it is truly crazy, and people simply don’t realize.

    Every one of his ideas is a recycle, nothing new here. As for the properties, we could certainly move much, much faster on seizing them for taxes and liens, and still do it quite legally.

  • 30 Another Dem for Heiner // Sep 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    CrescentHillion, if you are not voting for Heiner because you allege that he was dishonest, then I presume you certainly are not voting for Fischer – whose dishonesty is well documented (see Fischer’s flip-flopping on card check, bridges, privatization, etc. as well as lying about ice machine invention, corporate awards, support of arts tax, etc.).

  • 31 Chad // Sep 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    “I have no desire to be world class and every desire to be Louisville class. This city needs to stop trying to be bigger than its britches.”

    That’s the best thing I’ve read about Louisville since I moved here 5 years ago.

    Jake for Mayor!

  • 32 Steve Magruder // Sep 20, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Here’s my “days late and dollars short” response…

    1) I’m sure people will love to hear that their neighborhoods will be swarming with “city code inspectors” (IPL) under the Fischer plan. Wow, talk about a political tin ear. Also, the idea that problems can be solved “immediately” defies reality, and also, as we well know, these inspectors can pretty much force property owners to spend their own money to make improvements. So, this isn’t exactly an idea for government enhancing their service to us, so much as it is government being used to make everyone follow the rules. In some aspects, this is a good thing, but as we sometimes hear horror stories about IPL, we know that this good thing is sometimes carried too far with some very anal-retentive rules enforcement. Now, if Fischer only has in mind having these city officials looking at public works and how to improve them, and limiting the inspectors’ attention to only the most egregious private property violations, then he might have something there.

    Special Note: Fixing broken sidewalks isn’t enough. There are many thoroughfares and neighborhoods that have no sidewalks to begin with! This needs major attention.

    2) This idea sounds good, but naturally it will involve the city in even more lawsuits.

    3) Good idea, and it’s long overdue. Hal Heiner is also committed to paying similar attention to Dixie Highway.

    4) Helping Parkland sounds good, but isn’t Okolona already over-commercialized? That area seems to do well commercially as it is, to the point of choking on it. He needed to list additional neighborhoods here. The Kenwood Hill area needs this kind of investment.

    5) Moderate library expansion is a good idea, and Heiner likewise supports this direction. As long as taxes aren’t raised to do it.

    6) This idea sounds too fanciful to ever come true. I would guess the city could never afford to do this, with all the other programs it has under its wing. I say let’s address the real issues in neighborhoods as defined by people living in them before allotting money to “spokes”. Also, how will these trails be made secure, with proper lighting and access by police or ambulance if you need to contact them? Sounds like a lot of investment and long-term rights-of-way purchasing ahead, and therefore, this isn’t happening.

    7) Good thought, but how will it be paid for? Also, for those children at schools not in the vicinity of their home, will these programs be at their own school, or at a facility closer to their home? At any rate, it sounds like the transportation system for these students will need to radically altered, again, to make way for this idea.

    8) This is an idea that is “feel-good” to some, and intimidating to others. Even law-abiding citizens can feel weird with extra police presence around. However, I basically like the idea of city officials, not just police, becoming integrated into neighborhood/business associations. Bring government down to the people’s level, where it belongs. We are supposed to be the government, after all.

    9) More trees sounds good. Just don’t plant them near overhead utility lines. Yikes! Also, how will the home weatherization and rain barrels be paid for? But if you really want to talk about the greening of neighborhoods, why was community farming left out of this? Or expanding recycling pickup?

    10) While we can always do more to preserve historic structures, this item makes it sound like there aren’t already community efforts in this regard, and that the city doesn’t already have a number of sound laws and regulations in place. That said, working with the state legislature to increase the tax credits sounds like a good idea.

  • 33 Steve Magruder // Sep 20, 2010 at 7:11 am

    “[Heiner's] proposals for bonding the cost of library expansion, without a dedicated revenue stream, were not honest…”

    They were honest, I do believe, but if you recall, Mayor Jer shot down the proposal, likely for some political payback.

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