Good Happens When You Focus On Your Parks

What happens when a city tears down an overpass and focuses on a park?

The city has a beautiful, natural waterfall smack in the middle of its downtown that was hidden for decades by a concrete overpass, warehouses and boarded-up buildings. White took some political heat, but convinced the city to fund a 20-acre public garden around the waterfall and a suspension foot bridge above.

“The park cost $13 million,” White says. “Within two years, over $100 million in private investment was created around the park — hotels, restaurants, condominiums, apartments. The entire, what we call the West End of our downtown, just blossomed.”

That was 2004, and crowds have been steady since. The timing was perfect: Development money was easy to come by, and projects were well under way when the recession hit. Greenville was one of the rare downtowns where cranes and construction crews worked right through the economy’s darkest days.

To attract developers, the city pays for green space and parking garages connected to projects. White has even been known to line up land and funding for companies. He’s Greenville’s chief cheerleader, but only 1 of 7 votes on the City Council, split 4 to 3, Republican to Democrat. Those lines don’t mean much, though, says Democratic Councilwoman Gaye Sprague.

Click here to read the rest from NPR.

And then hang your head in shame over what your elected “leaders” are doing to Waterfront Park.

Louisville Yearns For Government Transparency

Whattya know? Experts say they wouldn’t hire the guy Greg Fischer hired to run LMAS. And, get this: Greg Fischer’s office refused to be interviewed for this story. Doesn’t sound too sure about his hire to us because actions speak louder than words. [WAVE3]

Four cases of how tearing down a highway can relieve traffic jams and save your city. [Infrastructurist]

What is it with being first and “breaking” news? It’s already old news that Jim Ramsey has been called to testify in Frankfort regarding the University of Louisville Hospital merger mess. [FOX41]

If you missed it, here’s your chance to see the extensive video footage of both Steve Beshear and David Williams at press conferences after their Kentucky Farm Bureau appearance. [Page One]

One our my favorite things – the rare moments when we bother looking at the Courier-Journal – is when Dan Klepal does a great local story. This one about LMAS is a solid example. And isn’t it funny hearing Greg Fischer tell all these groups to work with the new director? After he, himself, has spent a year refusing to work with them? [C-J/AKN]

Brown-Forman voted to re-elect its board members during its annual meeting yesterday. [Business First]

If you’re an elected official – say, on Metro Council – you should have to be up-front with your constituents about why you’re missing four months of work while getting a paycheck. [WFPL]

Churchill Downs won’t be getting instant racing this year, according to its CEO. [H-L]

Service for Peace is collecting backpacks for low-income families and you should consider helping out. [WHAS11]

Sweden has learned to be so transparent that it takes citizens on tours of its nuclear storage facilities and asks for their input. Louisville’s mayor is so far in the opposite direction that every single thing he does is secretive (particularly when it comes to hirings and spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars) and there are often penalties for those who reveal details. [NPR]

Remember the Cecil New-Ivan Cano murder case that shook this city to its core? The case is settled but investigators still have questions. [More FOX41]

Go see this Art After 80 exhibit at the Jewish Community Center beginning this weekend. [Consuming Louisville]

Greg Fischer’s Crew Now Out Spinning Like Crazy

Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson questioned Jack Conway for the 55th day in a row yesterday: “Jack Conway doesn’t mind answering questions if he thinks it will get him free publicity…unless it pertains to his own ethical failures,” said Robertson. “This man has no credibility on any issues until he addresses the most important one…his own integrity.” [Press Release]

You should pay close attention to the last paragraph in this story about Greg Fischer refusing No-Kill Louisville’s bid for Metro Animal Services. [WFPL]

Fourteen people died in twelve separate crashes on Kentucky roadways from Monday, June 20 through Sunday, June 26. [KSP Release]

Doctors are beginning to turn away more insured patients because of low payments. Welcome to 2011 in the United States of America. [Bloomberg]

We love the J-town Farmers Market but peed a little when a press release was sent out indicating that Greg Fischer and J-town Mayor Bill Dieruf would be the “Celebrity Chefs” for a cook-off at the July 9th Market. [Press Release]

Greg Fischer may, indeed, be a one-term mayor. Wouldn’t surprise too many people right now. But he’s got a couple years to show he’s worth a re-electing. [Twitter]

Really? Jerry Abramson talking about slicing “jowl bacon”? This must be one of his fancy new stories the campaign consultants came up with. Protip: people who wear their pants that high have never been within 200 feet of “jowl bacon.” [Joe Gerth]

Taco Trucks are apparently big deals to people named Michelle. Especially late at night. [Consuming Louisville]

Woah, what’s with people thinking 8664’s J.C. Stites is a fan of just cold paving parking lots after he tears down a dumpy house? It’s J.C. Stites. Of all people. [Broken Sidewalk]

The Downtown Development Corporation is going to spend $4-$6 million trying to lure businesses downtown. [FOX41]

Thank goodness you don’t live in Shelbyville where the local government is trying to pass sidewalk repairs off on homeowners. [WAVE3]

Mitch McConnell certainly loves his Faux & Friends. They’re always the easiest on him. [Page One]

Here’s a story from yesterday about David Jones leading public criticism of River Fields. [WHAS11]

Which Jerry Abramson Shoe Will Drop Next?

Jerry Abramson didn’t spend $180,000 out of his fancy discretionary fund. Turns out he spent some $214,000. And you know what? Receipts for what the money was spent on are essentially non-existent. So no wonder Matt Erwin at the KDP lost his shiz last week. [C-J/AKN]

Activists are calling for stronger enforcement of the Clean Water Act in Kentucky but that’s never going to happen. [H-L]

Congressman John Yarmuth is re-introducing comprehensive literacy legislation. The LEARN Act is supported by dozens of literacy organizations around the country. [Press Release]

You should probably go check out this new feature about highway removal. [The Architect’s Newspaper]

Congratulations to Sgt. Leigh Ann Burke of LMPD and Lt. Harold Miller of UofL PD for graduating from the sergeant’s course at the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s Academy of Police Supervision. [Press Release]

Gannett layoffs are a leading indicator of a permanently shrinking newspaper business. [Poynter]

Isn’t it interesting how so many people get nasty and personally attack the messenger when said messenger dares share their opinion – one that isn’t necessarily liked by all? [NA Confidential]

Greg Fischer is set to announce what’s next for Louisville Metro Animal Services this week. You holding your breath? [WHAS11]

Is the head of Greater Louisville Inc. worth $369,268 per year? Should anyone working for the city make more than the guy at the top? We’re honestly asking. [Curt Morrison]

General Electric union workers are set to vote on a new contract for a four-year deal on Tuesday. [FOX41]

Seriously, why don’t more places in town serve Coke Zero? It makes bad alcohol taste good and everything else taste better. [Consuming Louisville]

Demo Watch: Todd Blue strikes again. Parking lot here we come. [Broken Sidewalk]

Really? Human trafficking in Elizabethtown? It’s like anywhere at least 30 minutes away from Louisville just has to do something stupid this year. What the heck. [WAVE3]

I mean, really? Lying just so you can keep your illegal and super-cheap maid/slave? In KENTUCKY? [WLKY]

Anti-River Fields Group Wants To Intervene In Suit

Kentuckians For Progress has filed a motion to intervene in River Fields’ lawsuit against the Federal Highway Administration.

Could be a big moment for folks paying close attention to the Ohio River Bridges Debacle.

“It will not be the Federal Highway Administration that waits in traffic, does not get a job, loses business, has lower property values, or endures a lower than necessary quality of life if the Project is delayed or stopped,” stated former Jefferson County Judge-Executive, Rebecca Jackson. “Few, if any, federal bureaucrats can represent the interests of local citizens and businesses on a matter of this magnitude as well as the local citizens and businesses can represent our own interests.”

If they’re allowed to intervene, KFP wants to argue in support of the existing Federal Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision – against everything River Fields’ has done.

On a related note, the organization has recently picked up support from large organizations. Both the United Auto Workers (Local 862, 10K active & retired members) and the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters (Local 64, 1K families).

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that one of KFP’s newest members is Don Scheer. Scheer, you may recall, was forced to close The Chick Inn on River Road after River Fields’ sued to close the Harrods Creek Bridge.

Remember when Bob Griffith was on Mandy Connell’s program saying closure of the bridge should have helped the restaurant because cars would be stopped in traffic?

That’s how out-of-touch River Fields is. And it’s nice to see folks from all wings of the political and business world coming together.

Louisville Isn’t The Only City With Transit Woes

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

SEATTLE — Here in the capital of the Pacific Northwest, where commercial jets were born but now the mayor brags about biking to work, questions over commerce, climate change and community are converging on a couple of fateful miles of asphalt.

Is the Alaskan Way Viaduct overlooking Elliott Bay on the western edge of downtown just an elevated relic, another old road that needs to be replaced? Or is it something more, a symbol whose fate will help shape not only this city but the rest of urban — and New Urbanist — America?

“It’s not just a highway anymore,” Mayor Mike McGinn said. “It’s about the type of city we are and what are our priorities.”


Mr. McGinn, a former state chairman of the Sierra Club, centered his campaign on opposition to the tunnel. (At a time when greenhouse gas emissions threaten our very existence, he asked, why build something that encourages driving?) Never mind that the tunnel had, at long last, appeared to be a done deal. Mr. McGinn said that instead of a tunnel he wanted to replace the viaduct with a surface boulevard and new public transit options.

With polls tight in the final weeks before the general election, Mr. McGinn hedged, saying he would not necessarily stand in the tunnel’s way. Now that he is in office, he is back to fighting it.

What’s that? It sounds remarkably similar to what’s going on in Louisville these days?

Then click here to read the rest in the New York Times.

8664, Weed, Ford, Food, Be Glad It’s Friday!

8664 won the ‘Big Idea’ contest. Meanwhile, Greg Fischer and everyone in power are looking in the opposite direction. [FatLip]

You’ve got until February 24 to submit nominations for the Governor’s Awards for Volunteerism and Service. The awards will honor groups and individuals who strive to improve the Commonwealth through volunteer efforts. [Click the Clicky]

A new Ford manager addressed jobs at Louisville’s assembly plant. [WHAS11]

Somebody needs to ask mean ole Rep. Joni Jenkins why she lets people in Shively have marijuana in their motel rooms. [WAVE3]

You know what you can do? You can get these specialty license plates in Kentucky to help remind folks behind you to spay and neuter their pets. That could help solve many of the problems we face with Louisville Metro Animal Services. [FOX41]

Comprehensive service reform – in addition to tax reform – could really save us a ton in Kentucky. [Page One]

It’s a shame gubernatorial candidate has essentially called for the death of his opponent, David Williams, on three occasions. [More Page One]

Are you a vegetarian in Louisville? Then this is tremendous news! [Consuming Louisville]

The Forecastle Festival won’t take place again until 2012, as you all know by now. I’m still rolling my eyes about them trying to lure me out to a press event “because Greg Fischer will be there.” But it’s great news that JK McKnight is taking a job with the folks who put on Bonnaroo. [Press Release]

A judge has closed cases related to the Comair crash in Kentucky. Remember that Lexington tragedy? Not a good flashback. [H-L]

The Society of Civil Engineers gives Kentucky roads and bridges a D grade. That’s news we all love hearing, for sure. [WFPL]

Brent Ackerson isn’t happy about the decision to charge admission for Thunder Over Louisville. Here’s what he had to say in a release: “Like other members of the Metro Council, I represent people who could easily afford this new cost for admission. But I also serve families for whom this would be a great burden. Our waterfront serves as the People’s Park, a park which their tax dollars helped to build and continues to maintain. And Thunder is one of the signature events during the Kentucky Derby Festival which appeals to nearly everyone. We should not allow Waterfront Park and Thunder Over Louisville to be fenced off, placed out of the economic reach for our citizens, especially when the revenues from the sale of the Pegasus Pins are not going to the public coffers.” [Press Release]

Maybe How Not To Fight Against Bridge Tolls

We’re all for the various anti-tolling groups that are sprouting up around the metro area.

But announcing a major meeting that occurs this evening (5:30 @ Buckhead’s in Jeffersonvile) just six hours before it’s set to begin, as No 2 Bridge Tolls has done?

From the release:

A public meeting to update and inform Kentuckiana residents, business owners and organizations about the impact of the updated bridges financing plan. Recent news by by states indicates the plan will shift to tolling the I-65 bridges system, which will unfairly impact Kentuckiana residents, businesses and organizations. Invited guests are Clark County Council President, Kevin Vissing, Tyler Allen, previous candidate for Mayor-Louisville, and Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan.

Head – desk. This is why we’ll be paying eleventy million dollar tolls. Because we wait til the last minute to do anything. When playing the political game, I wish groups would take more advantage of public perception. It’s almost like these folks are taking all of their directions from Tyler Allen’s failed mayoral campaign.

Either way, you should go to the meeting this evening. Stand up against a bloated project that the public doesn’t wholly support. Stand up to elected officials who not only ignore your concerns but lie to your face.