Monday April 12, 2021
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Work is beginning today to move the George Dennison Prentice statue from outside the Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch into storage at a city facility on Lexington Road.

Preparation for the move starts today, with the actual move expected on Tuesday.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to move the Prentice statue and one of John Breckenridge Castleman in August, after a review of a report issued on June 30 by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, which he’d asked to develop a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.

The committee held seven public meetings early this year, gathering hundreds of comments from residents throughout the city before submitting its report to the Mayor.

In announcing the decision on the statues in August, Mayor Fischer suggested they might be moved to Cave Hill Cemetery, where both men are buried. Cave Hill declined to have the Prentice statue moved there; the city is still in discussions about moving the Castleman statue there from its existing Cherokee Triangle site.

“Mr. Prentice used his position as founder and long-time editor of the Louisville Journal to advocate an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant message that led to the 1855 Bloody Monday riot where at least 22 people were killed,” the Mayor said. “His statue is especially inappropriate outside the library, a place that encourages education, inclusiveness and compassion.”

No decision has been made about how the site will be used after the statue is moved. Sarah Lindgren, Louisville Metro’s Public Art Administrator, said any proposed artwork or monument on public property would go through the city’s process for ensuring that our public art and monuments respect our history but reflect the values of today.

Information about the city’s proposal and review process for artworks in public places can be found online at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-art. From this web page one can access the Commission on Public Art guidelines, as well as documentation of the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee.

Mayor Greg Fischer and other local leaders today reminded families of the many free and low-cost activities to keep students active and engaged during winter break.

Camps, movies, parties and sports clinics are among the dozens of activities available during the Jefferson County Public Schools winter break, Dec. 24-Jan. 4, and throughout the month of December.

“Parents who are looking for affordable, fun and festive ways to celebrate the holidays and keep their kids active during their winter break won’t have far to turn once again this year,” Mayor Fischer said. “We want students to enjoy their time off but also keep their minds sharp and bodies healthy.”

The Mayor spoke alongside Metro Councilman Pat Mulvihill and representatives of Louisville Parks and Recreation, JCPS, the Louisville Free Public Library and the Kentucky Science Center gathered at the Cyril Allgeier Community Center in the Camp Taylor neighborhood.

Louisville Parks and Recreation has published a Holiday Event guide that contains more than 30 events taking place during the month of December at community centers, the city’s two historic homes and more. The season is capped with a free winter break sports camp offered by University of Louisville basketball legend Robbie Valentine at Cyril Allgeier on Jan. 3-4. To register for Valentine’s camp, click here. 

Also, The Louisville Free Public Library will offer more than 100 free programs for kids, teens, and families while school is out, including storytimes, crafts, film screenings, games, and more. As always, the library also offers a wide selection of books and DVDs to keep kids reading and entertained during the break—all for free. A complete list of library programs is available at http://www.lfpl.org/events.

The Southwest Regional Library will host the Winter Wonderland Train Show — presented by K & I Model Rail Road Club —Dec. 22-Jan 6. The show is free and open during regular library hours, for more information, click here.

In addition, the Kentucky Science Center is offering day camps for children ages Pre-K through grade 5. Children can attend as many days as they like or just do it a day at a time and learn about coding, robotics, engineering and more. For more information, click here. 

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that Metro Hall is now equipped with beacons tied to a mobile app to help people who are blind or visually impaired navigate indoor public with audio cues.

The mobile app, Nearby Explorer Online, was developed by Louisville’s American Printing House for the Blind and is available for free on Apple and Android devices.

Through this app, people who are blind or visually impaired are able to locate destinations, restrooms, airport security, points of interest and more.

“Nearby Explorer is a perfect example of our compassionate city working and innovating to help improve accessibility,” Mayor Fischer said. “I’m proud that we could partner with American Printing House for the Blind and the James Graham Brown Foundation to install beacons to Metro Hall, and I’m proud of the work our Office of Civic Innovation has done to expand this program. This will be a big help for citizens, and that’s what we’re all about.”

APH is excited to partner with the City of Louisville to make a more accessible world. “It’s liberating to know what’s around you and to know what direction to go,” said Larry Skutchan, Director of Technology Product Research at APH. “With Nearby Explorer you have options that you don’t have if you’re always dependent on somebody else to take you places.”

Beacons have been installed in public spaces across Louisville through support from the James Graham Brown Foundation and Louisville Metro’s Office of Civic Innovation. Beacons are installed at:

  • Louisville International Airport
  • KFC Yum! Center
  • The Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Frazier History Museum
  • Kentucky Science Center
  • 21c Museum Hotel
  • Muhammad Ali Center
  • Kentucky Center for the Arts
  • Actors Theatre
  • Walgreens store on Frankfort Avenue
  • Crescent Hill Public Library
  • Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS)
  • The McDowell Center

American Printing House is in the process of mapping buildings and installing more beacons across Louisville. The end goal is to make every public building in the world a place that can easily be navigated independently. Nearby Explorer not only helps people who are blind or visually impaired, but can also help people who are sighted work their way through complex indoor spaces.

Mayor Greg Fischer joined AARP Kentucky State President Charlotte Whittaker today to celebrate safety improvements at Ninth Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard made possible by the AARP Livable Communities Initiative, which supports community efforts to increase livability and safety for residents of all ages.

The AARP initiative funds quick-action projects that build momentum for change in communities. AARP awarded Louisville $10,550 toward a $15,550 project that improves the intersection in three ways:

  • Upgrading crosswalks for greater visibility and pedestrian safety;
  • Adding plaza space and benches in front of an existing public art piece in the median;
  • And enhancing public art by adding a plaque to accompany Isaac Duncan III’s “Kae Me: The Lesson from the Black Star,” a piece that was erected in the median in 2003.

These improvements at one intersection is the first in a larger plan to reimagine Ninth Street as a safer, more pedestrian friendly corridor and add to the flow of investment into west Louisville, which totals about $1 billion over the past four years.

“Right now, we find that Ninth Street has unsafe pedestrian conditions, underutilized right of way and speeding cars. Our overall goal is to make Ninth Street safer for pedestrians, and the AARP grant is a great kickstart to the work,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “These improvements are part of about $1 billion in investment committee to west Louisville—including Passport Health Plan campus, Republic Bank Foundation YMCA, Beecher Terrace transformation and The Track On Ali.”

“AARP Kentucky is proud to support this community investment in pedestrian safety and making the neighborhood even more walkable,” said AARP Kentucky State President Charlotte Whittaker. “It’s an exciting example of how the AARP Community Challenge ‘quick action’ grant projects are helping make immediate improvements and jumpstarting long-term progress supporting residents of all ages.”

The grant is complemented by many projects along and adjacent to Ninth Street designed to break down this dividing point in our city:

  • Dixie Highway Bus Rapid Transit, which will run on Ninth Street when service begins in 2019;
  • Quinn Chapel stabilization starting in 2019;
  • The Knot, an inviting public art installation at Ninth & Main, debuting in early 2019;
  • Phase I of Beecher Terrace, a senior facility, finishing construction in 2019. Phase II, about 100 townhomes and apartments between 10th, 11th, Jefferson and Liberty streets will start in 2019.
  • And the extension of River Road west, which will connect to Waterfront Park Phase IV, starting in 2020;

The city has also applied for a BUILD grant to implement the Reimagine 9th Street corridor plan, which envisions an attractive, vibrant and safe connection between west Louisville and downtown. BUILD is the current iteration of TIGER, the grant that made has made improvements on Dixie Highway possible. The U.S. Department of Transportation will announce BUILD grant recipients by the end of the year.

Ninth Street from River Road to Broadway averages 142 crashes per year, and 255 jaywalkers per day. The city expects pedestrian and bike activity to increase along Ninth with the transformation of Beecher Terrace and the new Bus Rapid Transit line.

To learn more about the Reimagine 9th Street plan, please visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/advanced-planning/reimagine-9th-street

Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville Metro Government, together with the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, AARP Kentucky and the Kentucky Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA), have completed an Action Plan for Age-Friendly Louisville, an initiative to create an accessible and inclusive city for people of all ages and abilities.

With the guidance of a community advisory group, eight community meetings, two city-wide surveys, and collaboration with Plan 2040 (Louisville’s recently updated comprehensive plan), the Age-Friendly plan outlines goals and actions for four focus areas: housing, mobility and access, social participation and inclusion, and community support and health services.

The city and its partners will host a kick-off event for the Age Friendly plan at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Jewish Family and Career Center, 2821 Klempner Way.

The planning process began in late 2016 with Louisville’s membership in the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities, an institutional affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities & Communicates.

“Membership in the Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities has boosted our efforts to support our growing population of seniors and bring age-friendly practices to the forefront of our community,” the Mayor said. “One of our guiding principles in Louisville is to become an even more compassionate city, and that means ensuring that people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Named “America’s Aging Care Capital” by Forbes magazine, Louisville is a leader in aging and health care innovation, with more than 85,000 professionals working to create the health and aging solutions of tomorrow. The Age-Friendly Louisville plan will help further position the city at the forefront of aging care for a global senior population.

“At the national level, AARP is a leader in promoting Age-Friendly cities. Locally, we will leverage our resources and network to connect the initiative to critical grassroots systems and advocacy channels,” said Tihisha Rawlins, Associate State Director at AARP Kentucky. “We are working to create a statewide conversation where all of Kentucky’s age-friendly communities—Berea, Bowling Green, Lexington, and Louisville—can share ideas and support one another in the process of becoming age-friendly.”

“I look forward to the day when all citizens in Louisville can say their community is age-friendly; that regardless of a person’s age (from early childhood to centenarian), all are able to access and actively participate in their community: the place where they live,” said Barbara Gordon, Director of Social Services at KIPDA.

Dr. Anna Faul, Executive Director of the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, said, “The Institute looks forward to leveraging its connections to achieve wide-reaching coordination and collaboration in this effort. Such comprehensive buy-in will be vital to the success of the age-friendly city endeavor: improving the quality of life not only for our older residents but for residents of all ages.”

The plan’s goals and actionable steps include:

  • Increasing the number of home maintenance resources for older adults, to ensure that they can age in place
  • Increasing the number of home builders who have earned the Certified Aging in Place Specialist certification from the National Association of Home Builders
  • Working with TARC to ensure its services are affordable, accessible and understandable to all community members
  • Improving sidewalks, crosswalks and signal crossing times to ensure all citizens can access their communities safely.
  • Increasing the capacity of neighborhood associations, Neighborhood Places, community ministries and other community organizations to promote health resource information.
  • Hiring an Age Friendly Louisville program manager to oversee the activities of the plan.

Louisville’s population currently includes 15% of people over the age of 60 and projections states that percentage could increase to 40% by 2050. The Age Friendly Plan has incorporated goals and strategies to improve the quality of life for people of all ages.

To view the complete Age Friendly plan, please visit https://www.agefriendlylou.com/

The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office has informed members of the Louisville Metro Council that the Department of Justice has reviewed Louisville Metro’s newly enacted Separation Ordinance (LMCO 39(1)(F)) and found it to be in compliance with federal law (8 USC § 1373).

“At the time, this ordinance was discussed and passed, we were confident that we dealing with a public safety issue and there was never any intention to hinder federal enforcement of immigration laws. I am pleased that the DOJ is satisfied with what was passed and we can move forward,” says Metro Council President David James (D-6).

“The City of Louisville does not discriminate based on immigration status nor does our police enforce federal civil immigration law. LMPD’s job is to enforce criminal law, and Louisville is a place of welcome for all,” says Councilman Brandon Coan (D-8).

Louisville Metro was one of dozens of jurisdictions across the country that was targeted by the federal government.

The Ordinance was passed in October of 2017 and it set guidelines for how local police work with federal officials in the enforcement of immigration laws the ordinance also set guidelines for all metro employees and prohibits the questioning of someone’s immigration status.

The ordinance specifically states: “Nothing in this section prohibits Metro Government from sending to, or receiving from, any local, state or federal agency information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. Federal law does not allow any such prohibition.”

Link to Department of Justice Clearance letter:

https://louisvilleky.gov/sites/default/files/metro_council/pdf_files/lou…

Link to Immigration Ordinance:

https://louisvilleky.gov/sites/default/files/metro_council/pdf_files/ord…

The Democratic Leadership of the Louisville Metro Council is calling on the people of Metro Louisville to contact lawmakers in Frankfort and let them know the importance of passing Senate Bill 66.

The proposed legislation deals with pension funding obligations by local city and county governments. Failure to pass the bill could have devastating effects for Metro Louisville.

The Leadership has released the following statement:

“There are less than two weeks left in the current legislative session in Frankfort. As this session draws to a close, there is word that SB66 may not be called for a vote.

There is great debate on how to fund the state’s obligations to the pension system for the coming years. Every year Kentucky’s cities and counties meet their financial pension obligations to their employees. Now these local governments are faced with a major financial crisis if SB 66 is not passed.

Louisville Metro Government is looking at a $38 million dollar increase in pension funding on top of the $76 million it already annually pays. If Louisville is forced to pay this increase, there could be devastating cuts in services covering all areas of government including public safety and laying off employees.

SB 66 would allow local governments to phase in increases up to 12% per year over a period of ten years. It is a realistic approach. It would allow Metro Louisville to work within its means to provide government services while keeping its commitment to our employees.

The time has come for the people of Louisville to let Frankfort know they support giving city and county governments the leeway needed to continue pension obligations by passing SB 66.

This is not an issue that should be dealt with in a special session. Right now, the Mayor and the Metro Council are putting together the Fiscal Year 2018 to 2019 Operating and Capital Budgets. A special session on SB66 is simply kicking the can down the road, while Metro Louisville and other cities are put in limbo.

Lawmakers should realize that if SB 66 is not passed, the proposed pension costs along with cuts in the budget proposed by Governor Bevin will have a major negative impact on the people of Metro Louisville. It will increase a possible budget deficit from $38 to $50 million.

Louisville is the chief economic engine that drives the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Now is not the time to stop our progress. The people of Louisville are asking the General Assembly to do what is right.”

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