We’re no strangers to giving Jonathan Blue a hard time. He often deserves it.
But it would crazy for anyone to suggest the man doesn’t have great ideas. Because he absolutely does.
If you weren’t already aware, then be sure to give his interview in this month’s Louisville Magazine a read. We’re not linking to the website because it’s a publication that really is better in print. Go buy a copy at Carmichael’s and support a couple local institutions.
Here’s an excerpt from Kane Webb’s interview with Blue:
Louisville seems to be in the process of trying to reinvent its downtown. You see NuLu, stuff by the river, some activity on South Fourth. I think Fourth Street Live is a disaster. Main is doing better. As a member of the Downtown Development Corp. board, how do you envision a woking, successful downtown? What do we need? What are we doing well? What do we need to do better?
“The single biggest thing we need to do more of is residential; we need market-rate residential housing. Affordable apartments an affordable condominiums. The projects that have been affordable have succeeded, and the projects that haven’t been affordable have failed. And when you fail, everybody gets gun-shy. I think residential drives everything. It drives the restaurants; it drives retail; it drives safety because there’s life and people on the streets.”
“In the Central Business District. We have things on the fringes.”
Will people want to live in the city center as opposed to on the river?
“It’s not that people don’t want to live there; it’s that they need the amenities. You don’t want to drive to the suburbs for retail when they’d prefer to walk two blocks away. One of the things I advocated for on the DDC board is subsidization of a grocery concept somewhere in the center of downtown. We know it might lose money, but that would support everything around it. Subsidize it for a finite period … to incentivize someone to come downtown.”
For all the money this city has wasted on Cordish? All the money propping up dreadful chain bars filled with out-of-town frat boys and bro dudes? The least Metro could do is pump a little money into a solid grocery store like Trader Joe’s or a nicer Harris Teeter-style Kroger.
People should listen to Blue and should take his words seriously. They’re not empty. Everything the man said in his interview is spot-on.