Sunday July 22, 2018
News Topics

Amid recent talks about tariffs and trade wars, eight of the world’s biggest players in the whiskey industry are meeting for what has been dubbed the “W8 Summit” to be hosted right here in Louisville.

The world’s eight leading whiskey associations will gather in Kentucky, the Birthplace of Bourbon, next week in a historic summit to discuss trade issues that threaten the growth of this iconic, international industry.

The “W8 – Spirit of Collaboration Summit” is being hosted and coordinated by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, a non-profit trade group founded in 1880 as the Commonwealth’s voice for Bourbon and distilled spirits issues.

KDA President Eric Gregory said this first-ever gathering of the world’s whiskey associations will serve as an open exchange of ideas, strategy and a shared commitment to preserving free and fair trade. “Now more than ever, our groups need to be communicating directly and, hopefully, speaking with a unified voice.”

“The global whiskey industry has been enjoying an unprecedented level of success to the benefit of our legendary producers, consumers, countries and local communities,” he said. “It’s critical that we maintain this momentum and ensure that world leaders understand the deep economic impact of whiskey and how it will be affected if this unfortunate trade war escalates or continues to extend.  The potential for long-term damage is real.”

Participating trade associations from around the glob include:

  • Distilled Spirits Council
  • Irish Whiskey & Spirits Associations
  • Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Producers Makers Association
  • Kentucky Distillers’ Association
  • Scotch Whisky Association
  • Spirits Canada
  • spiritsEUROPE
  • The President’s Forum

The group will meet July 25 and 26 in Louisville, ending with a press conference and ceremonial planting of a white oak tree outside the Frazier History Museum on Whiskey Row, the site of the upcoming Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center.

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $8.5 billion economic engine that generates as many as 17,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $800 million and pours $825 million into tax coffers each year.

In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.

There are now 39 companies operating 52 distilleries in the Commonwealth making 6.8 million barrels of aging Bourbon – all modern records. Distillers also paid a record $19.2 million last year in barrel taxes that fund critical local programs such as education, public safety and health.

Visit and to learn more.

The two leaders who most recently guided the Kentucky State Fair Board agree its future is in good hands with new President and CEO David Beck.

Beck officially began his new role at Kentucky Venues on July 1.

Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Don Parkinson, and Chairman of the Kentucky State Fair Board, Dr. Mark Lynn, who recently served separate terms as interim CEO at Kentucky Venues, predict David Beck will be the most consequential leader in the organization’s history.

“David successfully led a large organization, involved in major state and national legislative regulatory issues, affecting agriculture and rural Kentucky,” said Secretary Parkinson. “He brings a wealth of business expertise to the sixth largest convention operation in the nation.”

Kentucky Venues operates the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) and produces the Kentucky State Fair, National Farm Machinery Show and North American International Livestock Exposition.

“The blend of leadership capability, knowledge of Kentucky and ability to unite diverse industries set David apart in his role as CEO,” said Dr. Lynn.

Beck sees tremendous opportunities at Kentucky Venues. Beck will preside over grand reopening of KICC on August 6. The downtown Louisville convention center has been closed for 24 months to allow $207 million worth of building renovations to be completed.

Beck says the 540 acre complex at the Kentucky Exposition Center is an ideal location for additional private development such as hotels and entertainment venues.

“KEC sits at the corner of Interstates 65 and 264. That is some of the most valuable property in Kentucky. We are asking private companies to give us ideas on how we can collaborate with them to enhance that area for our citizens and guests to our state. I’m excited about developing something special there.”

Beck said other priorities in his new job include bringing together the urban and rural communities and forming strategic partnerships across the state.

“I want Kentucky Venues to serve as an example of how government entities can operate effectively and efficiently,” said Beck.

Additionally, Beck is reimagining facility use at both properties. Beck plans to increase revenue through new business events and agriculture shows.

“I not only want to preserve the rich tradition of our properties but also enhance it for future Kentuckians and guests,” said Beck.

After 41 years with Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB), Beck brings to Kentucky Venues experience in agribusiness, government affairs, and executive management. Prior to his retirement at KFB, he served as the company’s Executive Vice President. A five-member search committee was appointed in January by Kentucky State Fair Board Chairman Dr. Mark Lynn to review applications for the president/CEO position that had been vacant since September 2017.

Visit for more information about spaces and events at Kentucky Venues.

Photo: Louisville Metro Government

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that Louisville Metro Government (LMG) has entered into a development agreement with The Marian Group for the redevelopment of the former Urban Government Center (UGC) site.

The Urban Government Center is an 11.85 acre site consisting of four buildings that have served as government offices for the last several decades. 810 Barret, the most prominent of the buildings on site, is a 7-story structure constructed in 1924 as the Kentucky Baptist Hospital; annexes were added to the building at later dates to form an entrance area and elevator shaft. The remainder of the site consists of a 4-story building constructed in 1940 as housing for nursing students, a 3-story structure erected in the mid- to late-1990’s that housed offices for Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District, and a small steam plant featuring a smokestack constructed with the original Kentucky Baptist Hospital.

“The former Urban Government Center site has long been a staple in the Paristown Pointe neighborhood,” said the Mayor. “I’m pleased to have entered into a development agreement with The Marian Group who shares our vision for this project to bring activity back to this historic site for the neighborhood to enjoy for generations to come.

The project features diverse housing options including townhomes, shotgun-style single family homes, multi-family rental units, and condo flats. Additionally, The Marian Group plans to include several types of affordable housing, including a Family Scholar House campus. The development will feature office and commercial space.

“We are excited to have signed this development agreement with the City and are ready to move forward with the first phase of this fantastic project,” said Marian principal Justin Brown. “It represents what is great about our city and this neighborhood—mixed-use, mixed-income, intergenerational, and interconnected.”

The Marian Group has sent out notice to the local community that it will be having its first neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, July 25 regarding its plan for the redevelopment of the current Vine Street parking lot into a collection of modern shotgun houses. Additionally, The Marian Group will file that plan with the City soon for planning review.

Marian principal Jake Brown added, “Paristown Pointe is a vital urban neighborhood and we are proud to be adding a new story to its already rich community narrative. Our family and our company have deep roots in the nearby neighborhoods and we are honored to spread those roots into Paristown Pointe.”

Phase 1 of the project includes the development of 22 homes to be built on a portion of the Vine Street Lot, located to the east of Breckinridge Street and to the west of Barret Ave. A farmer’s market space and a pedestrian connection will be constructed on the site, with the remaining area of the Vine Street Lot being retained by LMG to continue the existing community garden in partnership with the neighborhood. Preliminary site work will begin immediately with an official groundbreaking ceremony to be held at a later date.

Phase 2 of the project includes the development of a Family Scholar House, retail, office and mixed-use residential to be located on the balance of the main site bordered by Barret Ave., E. Breckinridge and Vine streets.

“Good things come to those who wait and I’m optimistic in the fullness of time this project will be as much a benefit to the Paristown Pointe neighborhood as many expect it to be,” said Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, D-4. “We’re hopeful that The Marian Group’s performance will exceed its promises including a park, walkways and good looking architecture consistent with the beautiful neighborhood.”

In addition, the development will bring community benefits such as multi-use connections between Breckinridge and Vine streets for pedestrian and bicycle use, preservation of existing mature native species trees, the addition of green roofs and the reuse of existing building materials where appropriate.

“The proposed project by the Marian Group to convert the Urban Government Center into a mixed use housing, retail and community development is a real positive for the Paristown Pointe neighborhood,” said Councilman Pat Mulvihill, D-10. “I hope this project will be transformational in creating continued investment and interest in the flourishing Barret Avenue corridor.”

The selection of The Marian Group was announced in December 2017 after this extensive community engagement process that included multiple on-site public meetings to hear the concerns and values of people from Paristown Pointe and area neighborhoods. In their proposals, development teams were asked to incorporate what was heard at public meetings.

The Marian Group’s proposal aligns with community priorities expressed during an extensive public engagement period. These priorities include:

Preservation of green space and an existing community garden;

  • Creation of new housing choices at multiple price points;
  • Ability of the site to support multi-modal transportation options, including transit and bicycle;
  • Reuse of existing facilities and materials;
  • Incorporation of community gathering spaces; and,
  • Use of innovative building and site management techniques to make the development a model of sustainability.

An evaluation panel of both LMG staff and members of the community was formed to review all five proposals submitted and to make a recommendation to Louisville Forward. The evaluation panel used scoresheets to review each proposal.

In the evaluation panel, Lizabeth Calenberg, Mary Hardesty, Debbie Hoblitzell and Chuck Woodall represented the community and Deborah Bilitski (former Director of Develop Louisville), Gabe Fritz (Director of Housing & Community Development), Daniel Frockt (Chief Financial Officer), Gretchen Milliken (Director of Advanced Planning) and Allison Smith (Brownfields Program Manager) represented LMG.

To view the development agreement, determination and findings, evaluation panel scoresheets, and more please visit…

By a vote 21 to 3, the Louisville Metro Council has approved the Fiscal Year 2018- 2019 Operating Budget for Metro Government. By a vote of 20 to 4, the Council gave its approval to the Capital Budget for the coming year.

“The approved budget continues to heavily fund public safety and infrastructure, including paving and sidewalks. It increases funding for the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, which is helping to reduce crime in ways proven to work around the country.  It maintains historically high funding for affordable housing. The Council has increased appropriations to the Library, to the Living Room project, which diverts people from the jail and emergency rooms, and to Dare to Care and New Roots, to address Louisville’s food insecurity issues. The budget also funds personnel and equipment to double the City’s graffiti abatement program,” says Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9) chair of the Budget Committee. “Budgets require compromise – and the results aren’t exactly what anyone wants. I thank the scores of people who appeared before Council to express their opinions on spending priorities, and Council members and staff who worked hard over the last two months to produce a budget that will continue to move Louisville forward.”

“This budget addresses many of the concerns that I and many of my colleagues had expressed regarding the Mayor’s proposed budget. Our amendments increased oversight and accountability in areas where additional scrutiny is needed and continues to push for a much needed new police headquarters and government building that will better help us serve the community” said Councilman Kevin Kramer (District 11), Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. “There were many areas of change that I would have liked to have seen incorporated into the final proposal, but I do believe that the budget that was passed tonight does continue to move our community forward.”

Aside from maintaining the operations and needs of Louisville Metro Government, the budget also highlights the following areas:

Preserves jobs at the Main Library and funds full staffing at the new Northeast Regional Library and the expansion of the St. Matthews Library. Requires Budget Committee approval of proposed renovations to the Main Library, including any changes to space utilization, staffing and services. ($265,000 increase in proposed budget to LFPL).

Focuses on food insecurity issues by doubling proposed funding to Dare to Care for general operations to a total of $200,000, and more than tripling proposed funding to New Roots to $70,000 (an increase of $100,000 for Dare to Care and $50,000 to New Roots).

Funds the Living Room program, diverting individuals from the jail and emergency rooms, at $1,000,000 and requires monthly reporting by Centerstone on usage and outcomes. ($350,000 increase in proposed budget).

Doubles Metro’s graffiti abatement program run by Codes and Regulation, providing for additional vehicles and personnel to operate them, beginning in February 2019.

Increases funding for the development of the new YMCA at 18th & Broadway by $50,000, bringing the total to $300,000.

Provides additional funding for Parks: $200,000 for Phase III of Charlie Vettiner Park; $75,000 to be matched by the Louisville Parks Foundation for soccer fields at William Harrison and Wyandotte Parks; and $50,000 for Quail Chase Golf Course.

Increases funding for Waterfront Development Corporation by $50,000, bringing Metro’s contribution to Waterfront Park to $1,037,000, to address an operating deficit and to provide for increased restroom cleaning in the park.

Allocates $1,000,000 for improvements at the Impound Lot (a reduction of $1,000,000 in the proposed amount due to timing issues on the need for the funds).

Maintains other recommended funding for paving, sidewalk repair and construction, LMPD, the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Heritage West, Parks, the Zoo and other projects and services.

Funds increased pension and healthcare costs, with no layoffs of Metro employees and no increase in taxes.

Mayor Greg Fischer today joined Sadiqa Reynolds, President and CEO of Louisville Urban League, and community leaders to announce that Louisville Metro Government (LMG) has entered into a development agreement with the Louisville Urban League (LUL) for the redevelopment of the Heritage West site, a 24-acre acre property in the Russell neighborhood. LUL’s master plan is centered on a 4,000-seat indoor and outdoor track and field facility and will feature community green space and outdoor event space.

“It’s an exciting time to be in west Louisville as it is experiencing nearly $1 billion in investment right now, and we are thrilled to add this sports and education complex to the list,” said the Mayor. “This project will activate a vacant lot, bring investment and jobs to the Russell neighborhood and serve as a healthy outlet for youth and adults from across our country. I applaud Sadiqa and her team at Louisville Urban League for their vision to bring a state-of-the-art sports facility to west Louisville.”

The development agreement states that, pending Metro Council approval, LMG will provide $10 million toward construction costs of the track. Construction is expected to begin in early 2019.

“There is no silver bullet in community revitalization and while sports may be part of an answer, track is not now, nor has it ever been the entire answer. While we can’t ignore the cries of our local track teams to ‘build this facility,’ this project is about more than sports. It is about economic opportunity, families traveling into our community with disposable income and the jobs and organic growth that will happen as a result of this catalytic project. It is truly about the need for a facility like this in our community and since it is to be built, why not right here in Russell,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, President and CEO of Louisville Urban League. “I am thrilled about the work we are about to do and the support this project has garnered, not just from the local community but from partners like the National Development Council (NDC), a national not-for-profit economic development agency that has been working to increase the flow of private capital into underserved areas for almost fifty years.”

The complex will be designed to host a variety of sporting events supported by organizations such as USA Track and Field, and the NCAA, our local and regional public and private schools and local track teams. The facility also will feature retail space and related amenities and will be owned and operated by the LUL. Browne Engineering & Construction has been selected as the Project Manager and Moody Nolan has been selected as the architect.

“NDC is delighted to have the opportunity to be working with the Louisville Urban League and its first rate committee on this mixed-use recreation facility that will be a catalyst for future development opportunities and lead to a substantial community impact in the Russell neighborhood for years to come,” said Kevin Gremse, Senior Director of National Development Council.

Heritage West is located on the western border of the Russell neighborhood, which is currently seeing an influx of investment, including the $29.5 million mixed-income, mixed-use redevelopment of Beecher Terrace, a project expected to leverage at least $200 million in new investment; Waterfront Park Phase Four expansion; relocation of Passport Health Plan’s headquarters; construction of a new YMCA at 18th and Broadway; and the city’s first Bus Rapid Transit Line.

“I am excited that this project is continuing to move forward with a $10 million commitment, pending Metro Council approval, from Louisville Metro Government to help make this dream a reality. The west Louisville community participated in discussions and sessions to make this sports complex project a priority for our community, and it will certainly be a destination spot for Louisvillians and visitors to the city alike,” said Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5. “This project will help change a 24-acre vacant lot into a positive vision of hope and a productive use which will generate other positive effects for our neighborhood. Thank you to Sadiqa Reynolds and everyone at the Louisville Urban Louisville for their belief and dedication to this project, and let’s do all we can to help make this dream a reality.”

The selection of the Louisville Urban League’s development plan was announced in late 2017 after an extensive community engagement process that included multiple public meetings to hear the concerns and values of people from the Russell neighborhood. More than 125 public comments were received on the four development proposals that were submitted after the SOI was released.

An evaluation panel of both LMG staff and members of the community was formed to review all four proposals submitted and to make a recommendation to Louisville Forward. The evaluation panel used scoresheets to review each proposal.

In the evaluations panel Bonnie Cole, Bill Gatewood, Vanessa Lackey and Gary Watrous represented the community and Jeana Dunlap (Director of Redevelopment Strategies), Laura Grabowski (Director of Vacant and Public Property Administration), Scott Herrmann (Director of Economic Development), Aaron Jackson (Director of Finance) and Allison Smith (Brownsfields Program Manager) represented LMG.

LUL will now, like all development projects, formalize their plans and submit them to Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services for review by staff, the Planning Commission and, if a rezoning or street closure is needed, Metro Council.

For the latest updates on the development, follow @LouisvilleUL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit

To view the development agreement, evaluation panel scoresheets and more please visit

The Louisville Farmers Market Association (LFMA) has released its annual “Local Food Guide.” The Guide maps out the city’s farmers markets, as well as New Roots’ Fresh Stop Markets. It highlights each market’s hours of operation, as well as methods of payment, including those that accept Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and SNAP benefits. Several of the markets have opted to provide a “double dollars” program for shoppers who use SNAP and Senior benefits.  Every dollar of SNAP or Senior benefits will buy two dollars’ worth of farm fresh healthy food at those markets.

“Farmers Markets are an important way to get fresh fruits and vegetables to our neighborhoods, particularly any areas of our city that may not have ready access to fresh produce,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and Chief Health Strategist. “They also are a great opportunity for our local and regional farmers and entrepreneurs to support their operations.  They help our community thrive.”


Louisville has added five new farmers markets this year, for a total of 21. New markets are:

Fourth St. Live, 440 4th St.
Eastwood Village, 16300 Eastwood Cut Off Road.
Belknap, UofL Belknap Campus Red Barn.
Prospect Area, New Goshen Presbyterian Church, 12900 W. Hwy 42.
Middletown, First Baptist Church, 11721 Main St.

The 2018 Local Food Guide is available on-line at

Since March 2018, nine businesses have been approved for loans totaling nearly $1 million by the Louisville Metro Departments of Economic Development and Resilience and Community Services. The loans will leverage a total investment of more than $9 million and will assist the businesses to open, expand services or rehabilitate properties.

METCO business loans, administered through Department of Economic Development, have been awarded to the following businesses:

  • $600,000 Go Green loan has been approved for Steve Smith on behalf of Two Stone Inc., the holding company for Stoneware & Co., for properties located at 711 and 731 Brent Street in the Paristown neighborhood. The loan will allow Smith to go green by replacing the current HVAC units and windows with new energy efficient systems and windows. This project is part of the $28 million Paristown development that will feature a total renovation and expansion of iconic Louisville Stoneware & Co., which traces its roots back to 1815. The project also will be home to a new $12 million satellite location of The Kentucky Center for the Arts, which will be the anchor for the neighborhood development.
  • $108,270 façade loan has been approved for MMCS Properties, LLC for the property located at 1003 Logan Street. The loan will allow the owners Mike and Medora Safai to install windows, cedar siding and specialty barn doors to the exterior of the existing warehouse in the Shelby Park neighborhood. Once complete, the warehouse will be transformed into a public market featuring locally-grown vegetables, fruits and dairy, a micro-brewery, and event space.
  • $184,000 gap loan and $16,000 accessibility loan were approved for LOP Properties, the property holding company for the facilities leased and inhabited by the Ladies of Promise, for its buildings at 2131 – 2133 W. Market Street in the Russell neighborhood. The gap loan will allow business partners Kristie Eliason and Aileen Wales to renovate the building, and will supply working capital as the Ladies of Promise convert their organization to a Behavioral Health Service Organization (BHSO). The accessibility loan will allow them to bring the building into ADA compliance. Currently, the Ladies of Promise has capacity for fifty women in a safe, clean and sober environment including sleeping, food, clothes storage and shower capacity. Once the renovations and conversion to a BHSO are complete, the facility will add a variety of medical services and will serve food, which they currently do not do.
  • $30,000 business loan has been approved for BBHPS, LLC dba Flavour, a restaurant which will operate at 1767 Bardstown Road in the heart of the Highlands neighborhood. The loan will allow the partner group (Doug Bibby, Eliott Horne, Clarence Benboe and William Pennington) to finance upfront costs of new signage, purchase additional equipment and electronics and supply working capital for the first three months. The restaurant opened in May and features ethnic cuisines and cocktails in an upscale setting.
  • In addition, the METCO Board approved amending the Business Accelerator Loan which is available for small business owners in the nine neighborhoods of west Louisville (Algonquin, California, Chickasaw, Park DuValle, Park Hill, Parkland, Portland, Russell, Shawnee). Changes include:
    • Extending the repayment period to seven years instead of five years
    • Lowering the interest rate to 8% from 12%
    • Adding six hours of requisite training to be completed through courses offered through Louisville Free Public Library’s

Microbusiness Development Program loans, administered through the Office of Resilience and Community Services, have been awarded to the following businesses:

  • $5,000 loan to Baskets & More, located in downtown at 609 W. Main Street, to assist owner Kimberly Starks with rent, insurance and supplies.
  • $7,500 loan to Manslick Learning Academy, LLC to assist owner Aquanette Knox with equipment, supplies, rent and insurance. Knox is a certified Child Development Associate who located her business at 4441 Manslick Road.
  • $15,000 loan to People Power Personal Training, LLC to assist owner Angela Carter-Lanon with rent, insurance and supplies. Located at 909 Barret Avenue, People Power Personal Training offers individual and group wellness and health training. Carter-Lanon is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach who has a Master’s of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, both from the University of Louisville.
  • $15,000 loan to The Kentucky TACO Company to assist owners Carl Steve Higdon and Charles Leon Neal with rent, business insurance and inventory supplies. This expansion will include delivery and store front service. They will be located at 502 Warnock Street.
  • $15,000 loan to Tristaca Loves Cooking, LLC to assist owner Tristaca Brown with new equipment, insurance and food supplies. The loan will assist Brown in catering as well as working to expand the food truck business.