Thursday July 25, 2024
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Photo: Louisville Metro Council

Neighborhood residents in two Metro Council districts will decide how a portion of the city budget is spent in their districts.

Our Money, Our Voice is an initiative of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness’s Center for Health Equity and Metro Councilmen David James (District 6) and Brandon Coan (District 8).  Residents of those council districts will decide how $150,000 ($75,000 in each district) will be spent.

Our Money, Our Voice is the name of Louisville’s participatory budgeting initiative. Originating in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989, participatory budgeting is a way for members of a community to work together to better meet their needs while having a direct say in government decisions.  In the process, people often find new ways of interacting with government and with each other to create solutions for all.  Participatory budgeting has been practiced in the United States since 2009 in such cities as Hartford, CT; Greensboro, NC; New York and Chicago.

Photo: Louisville Metro Council

Initial funding for the initiative is coming from $100,000 in capital infrastructure funds ($50,000 from each district) and $50,000 from the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement.  Additional funding is being sought from foundations and private sources.  Community residents will decide how to spend the money for physical improvement projects in each of the districts.

“Our Money, Our Voice is a pilot project — a new way for citizens to engage with government and decide how tax dollars are spent,” said District 8 Metro Councilman Brandon Coan.  “It’s giving people real power over real money to make the decisions that affect their lives.”

“Who knows best about the needs of the community than the people who live there?” said District 6 Councilman David James.  “Nobody can make better decisions about what a neighborhood needs than the residents of that neighborhood.”

The participatory budgeting process begins with the establishment of a steering committee consisting of representatives from the participating council districts. The steering committee then connects with neighborhood residents to develop ideas and create proposals for projects to benefit the neighborhoods. Finally, the residents in the metro council districts vote on how the money will be distributed among projects.

“Projects like Our Money, Our Voice are intrinsic to the work of public health,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness and the city’s chief health strategist. “Our vision is a healthy Louisville where everyone and every community thrives. Our mission is to achieve health equity and to improve the health of the people of our city.  The best way to build a thriving community is to include everyone in the decision-making process from the start and participatory budgeting is a means to make that happen.”

District 6 neighborhoods participating in Our Money, Our Voice include Algonquin, California, Limerick, Old Louisville, Park Hill, Russell (the section north of Broadway Ave., south of Plymouth St., west of 22nd St. and east of 26th St.), Taylor-Berry, University and Victory Park.

Participating District 8 neighborhoods include Belknap, Bonnycastle, Alta Vista, Cherokee Triangle, Deer Park, Gardiner Lane – Upper Highlands, Hawthorne, Hayfield Dundee – Upper Highlands, Highlands Douglass, Original Highlands, Seneca Vista and Tyler Park.

Participatory budgeting was identified as a project that the community wanted to pursue during the My Dream for Lou Policy Summit hosted by the Center for Health Equity in October 2016.  To learn more about the participatory budgeting process, the Department of Public Health and Wellness invites you to the kick-off event at the Heuser Hearing Institute Hearing and Language Academy at 111 E. Kentucky St. on Wednesday August 29 at 6 p.m.

Photo: Louisville Metro Council

President David James (D-6) is calling for volunteers to join with the Olmsted Parks Conservancy to help do some community cleanup work at Victory Park on Saturday, July 28th.

“Over the last few years, we have seen a wonderful transformation of Victory Park into a great park for the neighborhood. My office is encouraging everyone to come out and help us maintain the beauty of this nice community park,” says James.

The President and the Olmstead Parks Conservancy will host a volunteer clean up event on Saturday beginning at 10:00am.

Volunteers will do some beautification efforts with landscaping and clean up including painting around the Lodge of the park. Gloves and tools will be provided and volunteers will also be treated to lunch after the cleanup.

“This is a fun event and I would call on everyone who has seen the changes we have made in Victory Park to come and join to keep this park a nice place for everyone to enjoy,” says President James.

If there are volunteers who would like to learn more about this effort, they can go online to to register. You can also contact, President James office at 574-1106 for more information.

There a few places in Metro Louisville where you will find scenic beauty and hear great Bluegrass Music. In the springtime, the best place to find both is in the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

On Saturday, May 19th Council members Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13), Cindi Fowler (D-14) and David Yates (D-25) proudly present the 14th Annual Forest Fest.

“I am pleased to once again join with The Jefferson Memorial Forest as a presenting sponsor to bring this wonderful spring tradition to everyone in the community . It’s a one of kind event where you can sit back on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy some great music,” says Welch. “Every year I encourage those who have never been to the Jefferson Memorial Forest to take this opportunity to come out and experience the spectacular view from the overlook at Jefferson Memorial Forest!”

The 14th Annual Forest Fest will feature The Lonely Heartstring Band, Nora Jane Struthers, the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Hog Operation and the Local Honeys.

“Forest Fest brings together the best opportunity for adults and children to come to one of the prettiest spots we have in Southwest Jefferson County,” says Fowler. “The people of our area know this is where you can celebrate the beauty of spring and hear some very talented musicians at the same time.”

“Forest Fest is just another way the people of our districts show their pride and hospitality by welcoming those who may not know we have a great urban forest right here in Metro Louisville,” says Yates. “This third Saturday in May is always fun and entertaining for all.”

While Bluegrass Music is the main attraction of Forest Fest, it is also an opportunity to take a walk around the forest and see some fine arts and crafts, food and other refreshments presented by vendors.


Forest Fest Band Schedule

11:30 a.m. Local Honeys

12:45 p.m. Hog Operation

2:00 p.m. Whisky Bent Valley Boys

3:50 p.m. Nora Jane Struthers

5:30 p.m. Lonely Heart Strings


Forest Fest Schedule of Activities


10:30 a.m.          Booths open to the public; food areas open; Forest Nature booth opens for children

11:30 a.m.                 Music begins; Children’s activities begin (until 5 p.m.)

1-1:45 p.m.                Band Workshop: Local Honeys Children’s songwriting

2-2:45 p.m.                Band Workshop: Hog Operation

2:45 -3:30 p.m.          Band Workshop: Nora Jane Struthers

4:30-5 p.m.                Band Workshop: Lonely Heart strings

7:00 p.m.                         Forest Fest concludes


The Jefferson Memorial Forest staff will have nature presentations and information about educational programs and a children’s area.  If you like, you can check out the trails and all the beauty the forest has to offer.

The 14th Annual Forest Fest is made possible through the financial support of Council members Welch, Fowler and Yates whose districts represent the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

Joining them as co-sponsors this year: Councilpersons Rick Blackwell (District 12), Marianne Butler (District 15), James Peden (District 23), Madonna Flood (District 24), Jessica Green (District 1), Barbara Shanklin (District 2), Bill Hollander (District 9), Pat Mulvihill (District 10), Glen Stuckel (District 17), Vitalis Lanshima (District 21), Robin Engel (District 22), Barbara Sexton Smith (District 4), Cheri Bryant Hamilton (District 5), Brandon Coan (District 8), and Stuart Benson (District 20).

Also sponsoring the event are: Aetna, WFPK Radio Louisville, and 502 Yoga.

The concert is free, but parking is $10 per car.  Bring a blanket or a folding chair as well as picnic food, but no alcoholic beverages are allowed to be brought in but they can be purchased on site.

“So if you love good music and want to get out of the house on a Saturday, come join us” says Welch.

To find out more about the 14th Annual Forest Fest, contact the Jefferson Memorial Forest at 368-6856.

Councilman David James will join volunteers with the 1st Gethsemane Center for this year’s Back to School effort to get school supplies to needy students in District 6 schools on Friday, August 11th. “The best way to ensure children in need get the things they need for learning for the new school year is to make sure school supplies are delivered to the schools in need,” said James. James and the volunteers have been collecting donations of schools supplies from Walmart and Kosair Charities. Those donations will be sorted on Friday and then delivered to six schools on Monday, August 14th. The schools are Cochran, McFerran, Engelhard, Wheatley and Frasier Elementary Schools and Noe Middle School. “We are happy to partner with Councilman James, Walmart and Kosair to once again to take care of children in need who live in our neighborhoods,” says Keith A. Bush Sr., Director of the 1st G. Center for Family Development”

On Friday, the volunteers will begin the sorting process of supplies at 12:30pm. The donated supplies include:

  • Crayons
  • Notebooks
  • Pencil boxes and pouches
  • Backpacks

The sorting operation will start at 12;30pm at 1st Gethsemane Life Development Center located at 1221 First Gethsemane Ave.

Credit: Louisville Metro Police

With the back drop of the Peterson-Dumesnil House, residents of Crescent Hill, Clifton, the Highlands, and St. Matthews will have a chance to find out what’s going on in the fight against crime on Tuesday, August 1st.

For a sixth year, the Fifth Division of Louisville Metro Police will host the 2017 National Night Out Celebration at this well-known landmark, located at 301 S. Peterson Avenue in Crescent Hill.

“Many of us on the Metro Council have had a sharp focus on crime in our districts. Fighting Crime begins with working with the men and women who patrol our streets,” says Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9). “National Night Out provides the chance for anyone to know what’s going on out in the streets.”

Hollander along with Council members Brandon Coan (D-8), Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) and Angela Leet (R-7) are encouraging the public to come out for National Night Out which will be held from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

“One of my goals in District 8 is to increase the number of neighborhood watch groups that can actively work with officers to keep our neighborhoods safe,” says Coan. “National Night Out is an opportunity to learn more about and sign-up for our program.”

“I talk many times about how people need to be connected to each other to improve our quality of life. An important connection is to know the men and women who keep our neighborhoods safe,” says Sexton Smith.

“Events such as National Night Out, help link neighbors to one another as well as help to build partnerships between the community and police,” Says Leet. “We need events like National Night Out to help empower our citizens to put a stop to the growing rates of violent and property crime.”

There is fun for all ages, including food, music, door prizes, and the making of child ID cards. There will also be a way to safely dispose of expired drugs.

For more information about the Fifth Division’s National Night Out event, call 574-LMPD (5673).

In an effort to address the needs of Louisville residents with disabilities and improve accessibility in many historic commercial structures in Metro Council District 8, Councilman Brandon Coan today announced that his office has partnered with the Department of Economic Development to create a dedicated revolving account that will loan up to $5,000 to businesses located in the district, already seeking the city’s accessibility loan program, to help pay for bigger and more accessibility improvements.
“The District 8 Accessibility Loan Program is part of my strategic objective to improve equitable access to the built environment,” said Coan.  “Many Highlands-area businesses are hard to navigate for people using wheelchairs or otherwise having limited mobility.  I hope local businesses will take advantage of this opportunity to improve their properties, expand their customer bases and make District 8 an even more welcoming community.”
To be eligible for the loan, the business must be located in District 8, be approved by the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO), the city’s board that governs small business loans, and be used on a project already borrowing $15,000 from METCO. The loan will be matched up to $5,000.
The city’s accessibility loans are offered to commercial property owners for the purpose of making buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. The loans are restricted to ingress and egress improvements, including but not limited to: accessible paths of travel, doors, handrails, threshold adjustments, and restroom updates.
“The Accessibility program is an important tool for improving the accessibility for everyone in our community, and District 8, anchored by many historic buildings, is ripe for these improvements,” said Scott Herrmann, Director of Economic Development. “Councilman Coan’s partnership with METCO is a testament to the city’s commitment to improving accessibility and furthering the vitality and quality of life in the Louisville community.”

The Center for Accessible Living has agreed to provide pro bono Accessibility Surveys to applicants seeking to take advantage of the new loan program.  The surveys identify ADA compliance issues and make compliance suggestions – the kinds of improvements intended to be funded by the loans.
“As a compassionate city, Louisville should strive to be accessible to all people, and the District 8 Accessibility Loan Program is a positive development toward that goal,” said David Allgood, Director of Advocacy at the Center for Accessible Living. “The Center for Accessible Living is proud to partner with Councilman Coan on this initiative. People with disabilities are the city’s second-largest minority, and we have money to spend at local businesses we can access and enjoy.”

July 26, 2017 is the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability and improves access to the built environment through standards and requirements.

To learn more about the city’s accessibility loan, visit

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin (D-2) will be joined by students of Newburg Middle School for the official community dedication of a new bus stop bench at Exeter Ave and Indian Trail on Tuesday, May 16th.

“Over the winter months, the students collected plastic bottle caps to be formed into a plastic bus stop bench. It is a great community effort on their part and we are recognizing them on behalf of the people of our district,” says Shanklin.

After the bottle caps were collected, they were sent off for the formulation of the bench, by Greentree Plastics in Evansville, Indiana. Shanklin says the idea for the project came from Richard McKnight, a GE employee who saw how a concrete bench at the bus stop was fallen apart,

The project was completed with the help of McKnight, other GE employees and funding by Councilwoman Shanklin.

The bench will be picked-up on Friday, May 12th and a dedication service will be held on Tuesday, May 16th at 12:00pm.

The dedication will be held at the corner of Exeter Ave and Indian Trail, in front of the Newburg Library, which will also be the bench’s location.

“We want our young people to take pride and have a genuine interest in our community and this project is one way of not only thanking them for what they have done, but encourage them to do more,” says Shanklin.

Students and faculty representatives from Newburg Middle School as well as GE employees and Councilwoman Shanklin will be present at the dedication.