Sunday December 8, 2019
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Mayor Greg Fischer today announced Louisville Metro Government has been awarded $50,000 from the national Historic Preservation Fund to survey and inventory properties in the Chickasaw neighborhood with the goal of listing the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District.

The Historic Preservation Fund is administered by the National Park Service as part of its Underrepresented Community Grant Program. Louisville received the highest amount awarded this grant cycle.

“We are grateful to the National Park Service and the Historic Preservation Fund for this award. Placement on the National Register of Historic Places would allow property owners in the Chickasaw neighborhood to improve their properties by taking advantage of federal and state historic tax credits,” said the Mayor.

The historically African American neighborhood is made up of single-family residences with few multi-family and commercial properties, a result of the effects of segregation and historic redlining, which led to economic depression, disinvestment and a lack of development in Chickasaw and other west Louisville neighborhoods.

Listing on the National Register as a historic district is an honorary recognition. Louisville currently has more than 40 neighborhoods listed on the National Register including Russell, Parkland, Smoketown, Cherokee Triangle, Old Louisville, the Highlands and Limerick. Being listed on the National Register of Historic Places does not place any new restriction on properties.

The city will now undertake a survey of the Chickasaw neighborhood and determine the Historic District boundaries. It will take two years to complete the survey work and draft the National Register nomination application.

The city is hosting the first of multiple neighborhood outreach meetings from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Catholic Enrichment Center, 3146 W. Broadway.

Develop Louisville, the Chickasaw Neighborhood Association, and the Samuel Plato Academy of Historic Preservation Trades are co-sponsoring the event, which will answer questions about the grant, the survey process, and what it means to live in a neighborhood on the National Register. Louisville Metro historic preservation specialists and representatives with the Kentucky Heritage Council will lead the discussion.

“I hope this national distinction and localized opportunity compels a genuine and collaborative effort, promoting wellness of Chickasaw and surrounding historic neighborhoods,” said Ameerah Granger, President of Chickasaw Neighborhood Federation.

Originally built as a community for African American residents, the Chickasaw neighborhood is generally bounded by West Broadway to the north, Louis Coleman Jr. Drive to the east, the Ohio River to the west and Woodland Avenue to the south. The Chickasaw neighborhood was part of John Garr’s 1,500-acre farm in the early nineteenth century. It later housed the first permanent state fair grounds on Cecil and Gibson avenues in 1908 and the short-lived White City Amusement Park from 1907 to 1910, according to The Encyclopedia of Louisville

The neighborhood evolved after the 1922 construction of Chickasaw Park, one of the multitude of parks in Louisville created by the Olmsted firm. The park was designed for the African American residents of west Louisville because most other parks were considered white-only, according to Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930 by author George C. Wright.

An evaluation team will soon review 13 bids submitted during a Request For Proposals (RFP) process for the management, operation and maintenance of Louisville’s public golf courses, according to an update provided today to Louisville Metro Council President David James by Chief Financial Officer Daniel Frockt and Parks and Recreation Director Dana Kasler.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced earlier this year the city may be forced to make adjustments to the management, operation and maintenance of the 10 city golf courses as part of a series of cuts necessitated by the state of Kentucky’s pension crisis and a lack of new revenue sources.

On Sept. 13, 2019, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), for management, operation, and maintenance of the courses.

The RFP process closed Oct. 22. The next step is for an evaluation team to review the proposals with a tentative completion date of Nov. 18, 2019. Following subsequent negotiations, the goal is to award a new contract(s) for operations by Dec. 31, 2019.

“We are taking great care to ensure a smooth process during this transition period,” Kasler said. “I am confident the review team will diligently explore the options found within these 13 proposals to help retain municipal golf in the city.”

Louisville Parks and Recreation golf courses are Metro-owned and currently managed independently by PGA professionals whose contracts are up at the end of 2019 – except for Quail Chase, where the contract expires December 31, 2024.

“This RFP process is designed to assist us in making the smartest and most fiscally responsible decisions for the taxpayers of this community,” Frockt said. “We also believe it will lead to more streamlined and improved golf course operations, which in this strained budget climate is critical.”

In the update to the Council president, Frockt and Kasler clarified that records related to the process will be kept confidential until a contract is awarded, under a process established per Kentucky state law to eliminate the potential of undue influence and impropriety on the evaluation team.

Also, no council members will serve on the evaluation upon the recommendation from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office.

Frockt and Kasler also noted that Metro Government will continue to follow the union contract regarding Louisville Parks and Recreation golf course staff during this transition period. “Therefore,” they wrote, “no Metro Council member or body may bind Metro government into any manner of collective bargaining agreement, side letter revision, or memorandum of understanding (MOU).”

The letter also provided an update on course operations through the end of the year, when most lease agreements expire.

Because the PGA professionals at Shawnee, Crescent Hill and Charlie Vettiner have submitted their resignations, the letter said, Louisville Parks and Recreation, per ordinance, will staff those courses.

Beginning on January 1, 2020, course operations will fall under the new contracts awarded through the RFP process. Those courses not awarded a contract will be operated by Louisville Parks and Recreation.

Louisville Metro Government today closed on its sale of $45 million of tax-exempt bonds to Morgan Stanley & Company, with nationally recognized credit rating services S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service again affirming the city’s positive bond ratings of AA+ and Aa1, respectively.

Both credit rating agencies cited Louisville’s vibrant economy and sound fiscal management as strengths — but also expressed concern regarding Louisville’s growing state pension obligations and relatively low fund balance, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

The bond sale will provide long-term funding to capital projects from the FY19 budget that had been temporarily funded with a line of credit. The competitive sale generated bids from 11 companies and resulted in a True Interest Cost (TIC) of 1.89 percent for the city.

“Louisville continues to receive external validation, from both independent rating agencies and the credit markets, that we are well-run with an expanding economy,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.  “But they also recognize that we will have very limited opportunities to invest in ourselves the way our peer cities are doing because of the growing and sustained state pension increases, unless we structurally address them through either new revenue or continued budget cuts.”

The bond proceeds will fund a variety of projects from the FY19 capital budget, including the completion of the recently opened Northeast Regional Library and the Metro Animal Services shelter. Projects also include ongoing maintenance and repair projects related to street paving, sidewalks, bridges, parks, the Zoo, Metro facilities, and public safety vehicles.

S&P again affirmed its second-highest rating of AA+ with a stable outlook for Metro Louisville.

In its report, S&P factored in Louisville’s “strong economy” and “strong management” but warned that their assessment “could be weakened in the future if we believe its budget shows signs of strain in accommodating future pension contributions.”

Moody’s again affirmed its second highest rating of Aa1 with a stable outlook for Metro Louisville.

Moody’s report cited Louisville Metro’s “sizeable and growing tax base serving as a regionally important economic hub” as a factor in assigning the Aa1 rating, but also expressed the city’s credit challenges related to “lower reserves and liquidity relative to national peers” and a “higher pension burden compared to medians for the rating category.”

The rating agencies recognized the strength of Louisville’s economy, evidenced by $14 billion of capital investment since 2014, 80,000 new jobs and 2,700 new businesses since 2011, rising wages and an unemployment rate below four percent, said Louisville Metro Chief Financial Officer Daniel Frockt.

“Mayor Fischer’s vision of an equitable and vibrant Louisville continue to garner positive results when we go to the capital markets,” Frockt said.  “We are also receiving feedback that we will need a longer-term plan to address the mounting pension obligations over the next several years.”

On Thursday, Frockt will be providing an update on the sale and credit reports to the Metro Council Budget Committee.

Photo: Louisville Metro Council

President David James (D-6) invites everyone to start their Halloween celebration a little earlier than usual by taking advantage of the haunted history of one of the city’s most unique and in this case scary neighborhood’s: Old Louisville.

“We are offering a great way to experience the beauty of Victorian Old Louisville this weekend by adding a little something extra to an annual event which may surprise some folks in a fun way,” said President James.

The Victorian Ghost Walk is an annual production of outdoor theater that celebrates the ghostly past of “America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood” amidst a stunning backdrop of gas-lit walkways and beautiful mansions. It is a progressive porch play bringing together a wide variety of talent and visitors every year in October as the Old Louisville historic district becomes a stage where haunted history comes to life.

“The South 4th Street Neighborhood Association is proud to partner with local author, chef, and professor David Dominé to celebrate “America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood.” A cast of real-life actors bring ghosts and characters from his books to life in this outdoor theatrical walking tour in the heart of historic Old Louisville,” says Susan C. Coleman Layman of the Association.

Among the highlights of this ghost walk the casual walker will see on the tour are the Resurrectionist, the millionaire and the woman who claimed she was “Queen of America”.

Along the way there will be goblins and the Witch at the Witches’ Tree, where a neighborhood witch from the 1800s shares the tale of how a curse led to its gnarled and twisted appearance; The Stick Witch, a crazed old hags jealously guards a cart full of sticks in the park; Jennie Bowman, a ghost of a young Irish woman who returns to tell the sad tale of a deadly encounter; Annie Whipple, who’s spirit returns to the mansion to warn against the dangers of trying to communicate with the dead; Lady Ross, a phantom who returns to her childhood home to recount the details of her unhappy marriage to an aristocrat.

Part walking tour, part porch play, David Dominé’s Victorian Ghost Walk brings together local acting talent to showcase the Old Louisville Preservation District and raise funds for neighborhood organizations.

“This is just one of the many great community events that Old Louisville sponsors as a way to continue this special neighborhood,” says James.

The Victorian Ghost Walk gets underway at 6:00pm on Friday, October 18th, Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, October 20th beginning at 1402 St James Court.

For more information about this event or if you need ticket information go to: https://louisvillehistorictours.com/victorian-ghost-walk/

It is a fall tradition that highlights a very special area of Old Louisville. The 63rd Annual St. James Court Art Show will once again bring more than 700 artisans and craftsmen from all over the United States along with hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Old Louisville area during the first weekend in October.

“For more than six decades now the St. James Court Art Show is one reason why Old Louisville continues to be one of the best places to visit. Over the years, St. James has welcomed thousands from all over our country to a truly great event. It’s an event that also brings yet another boost of economic development and tourism to our city,” says President David James (D-6).

“We are looking forward to everyone coming and having a great time we want people to see why we are the Number 1 Fine Art and Design Show in America for 2019,” says Howard Rosenberg, Executive Director of the St. James Court Art Show.

The Art Show offers a wide variety of booths featuring furniture, pottery, jewelry, glassworks, photography and paintings.

Rain or shine, the Art Show will take place on October 4th through October 6th.  There is no admission fee. No Pets are allowed unless they are a service animal.

Sponsors for the 2019 St. James Court Art Show are: Anheuser Busch/Goose Island, President David James District 6 Metro Louisville, Pepsi Co., Heaven Hill Brands, StorAll Self Storage, Kentucky Monthly Magazine, The Voice of Louisville, extol, Louisville Public Media, and Kentucky Public Radio, and TARC.

For additional information visit their website: https://stjamescourtartshow.com/

While the Art Show is a fun time for many, the President’s office also reminds everyone that there will be many street closures and no parking areas around the St. James Court area:

2019 ST. JAMES ART SHOW

STREET CLOSURES AND NO PARKING AREAS

Friday, October 4 – Sunday, October 6, 2019 – St. James Art Show

6:00 am (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – 11:30 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

Alley between Third Street and Fourth Street from Magnolia Avenue to Hill Street
Alley between Fourth Street and St James Court from Magnolia Avenue to Hill Street
R Chin Alley from Sixth Street to Hill Street
St James Court from Magnolia Avenue to Hill Street
Magnolia Avenue from Third Street to Sixth Street
Gaulbert Avenue from Third Street to Fourth Street
Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Hill Street
Magnolia Avenue from Sixth Street to Levering Street
No Parking Areas

1:00 am (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – 9 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

Park Avenue (south side) from Fourth Street to Sixth Street
Gaulbert Avenue from Third Street to Fourth Street

1:00 am (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – 10 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

Third Street (west side) from Park Avenue to Hill Street
Third Street (east side) from Magnolia Avenue to Hill Street
Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Hill Street
Sixth Street (east side) from Park Avenue to Hill Street

1:00 am (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – 11:30 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

St James Court from Magnolia Avenue to Hill Street
Magnolia Avenue from Third Street to Levering Street

9:00 am (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – 7 pm (Thursday, October 3, 2019)

Hill Street from Second Street to Sixth Street
Fourth Street (east side) from Hill Street to Gaulbert Avenue

Handicapped Parking Areas

8:00 am (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – 10:00 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

East side of Sixth Street near Magnolia Avenue, along Central Park

1:00 am (Friday, October 4, 2019) – 8:00 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

Hill Street (north side) from Second Street to Sixth Street

9:00 am (Friday, October 4, 2019) – 10 pm (Sunday, October 6, 2019)

North lanes of Hill Street from Third Street to St James Court

NOTE: No Handicap Parking at Saint James Court and Fountain Court (across from the fountain on the east side of the street)

Louder Than Life kicked off its three day run yesterday as the final festival in the Danny Wimmer Presents Tri-Festa concert series.  Heavy metal fans were treated to the performances of Motionless in White, A Day To Remember, Phil Anselmo and the Illegals, Gwar, and many more. The night ended with headliner performances given by Staind and Slipknot. Saturday’s event will feature, among many others: Suicidal Tendencies, Stone Temple Pilots, Dropkick Murphys, Ice Cube, Godsmack and the night ends with a Guns N’ Roses performance scheduled for three full hours.

This weekend will also feature local bands with Oldham County’s Knocked Loose at 6:40 today and Louisville’s own White Reaper on the Oak Stage tomorrow at 2:25PM. The final day includes performances by Sum41, Three Days Grace, In This Moment, Breaking Benjamin, Marylin Manson, Rob Zombie and Disturbed.

Weather this weekend is clear but hot. If working your way into the throngs of crowd surfing, mosh-pitting people doesn’t appeal to you, there is plenty of space allocated for blankets and chairs to enjoy some personal space with your music. The festival likewise features the food, bourbon and beer selection seen at the previous Tri-Festa events, Bourbon & Beyond and Hometown Rising, including some band collaborations, such as Blackened, a whisky that was made in collaboration between master distiller Dave Pickerell and Metallica or their Enter Night beer from Stone Brewing. New to Louder Than Life, there is a stand featuring a whiskey by Slipknot – No. 9 Iowa Whiskey. If you walk around with a keen eye, you may even find a hidden speakeasy with an air conditioned area with a drink menu featuring Angel’s Envy.

The event is held at the Highland Festival Grounds, located within the Kentucky Exposition Center.  While parking is $20 per vehicle, which is the same as the parking at the Champions Park, all of the parking is on pavement and the traffic management to exit is much smoother than previous year’s venues. Free shuttles are available which will take attendees from the parking lot to the festival entrance.

Tickets are still available for today and tomorrow, pricing starts at $95. Attendees are encouraged to read what can and cannot be brought into the festival grounds (there are strict rules on bag sizes and types).  Chairs and blankets are permitted, but only in designated areas. Since it is so hot, attendees are encouraged to bring a factory sealed water bottle (less than 20oz) into the festival or an empty reusable water bottle of any size. The Louisville Water Company provides water stations to fill and refill your bottles on site.  Continue reading

Southwest Airlines recently announced new seasonal weekly nonstop service between Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) beginning Saturday, December 21, 2019. The airline will operate the flight using 143-seat Boeing 737 aircraft.

“We’re pleased that Southwest continues to expand service here in Louisville with Fort Lauderdale marking the third new nonstop destination they have added in the past 17 months,” said Dan Mann Executive Director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. “Southwest’s on-going investment of new routes at SDF speaks highly of the strength of our market and our strong partnership with them.”

With this announcement, Southwest Airlines will offer nonstop flights to ten destinations from Louisville including Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love Field, Denver, Houston-Hobby, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix and Tampa. Tickets are now available at www.southwest.com.

“This is great news for Louisvillians looking to head south for work or fun, and a further sign of the strength of the Louisville market,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “We’re pleased that Southwest clearly gets that, as it continues to expand its services here.”

The Fort Lauderdale flight came as part of the airlines winter schedule release. In addition to this new route, Southwest is also increasing their number of daily flights to Chicago-Midway as well as the number of weekend flights to Baltimore, Orlando, Phoenix and Tampa. With these service increases, Southwest’s Louisville capacity will be up 13% in January and February 2020.

This announcement follows a record-setting first six-months of the year for Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport with 2,049,504 total passengers – a 12.5% increase in passenger traffic. Since September 2018, nine of the 10 months have also set passenger records, with June celebrated as the airport’s busiest month yet with 206,000 enplanements.

This level of growth – fueled by expanded markets and new announcements including Fort Lauderdale – has placed Louisville’s airport on track to celebrate its best year ever.

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is served by six airlines offering flights to more than 30 nonstop destinations including 19 of the region’s top 20 domestic markets. With just one stop, travelers from across the region can reach more than 460 destination sin the U.S. and worldwide.

For additional information about the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, visit www.FlyLouisville.com.

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