Mayor Greg Fischer today joined representatives from Louisville’s faith, education and business communities to announce the launch of a new 501c3, Compassionate Louisville, an independent organization to oversee and further Louisville’s compassion work. The organization, led by Dr. Muhammad Babar, will build upon the city’s momentum and strengthen its culture of compassion and volunteerism.
“Compassion is one of our core city values and is part of our legacy in Louisville, from the life and work of compassion champions like Justice Louis Brandeis, Thomas Merton, Muhammad Ali, Anne Braden and others,” said the Mayor. “The creation of Compassionate Louisville will champion our cause of compassion, make it sustainable and ensure it lives on beyond any administration.”
The organization will exist as a portal to support and empower existing local organizations that are doing year-round compassion work. By identifying issues that need to be addressed through compassionate action, the board will build awareness and facilitate connections and partnerships to support the needs of the community.
The launch of Compassionate Louisville builds upon compassion initiatives like the Mayor’s Give A Day Week of Service, the city-wide festival of volunteerism, service and compassion. In 2019, the city broke its own world record with more than 235,000 acts of service or compassion.
In November 2011, the Mayor, along with Metro Council members, signed the Charter for Compassion, committing Louisville to a 10-year Compassionate City campaign. This work has helped the city form a strategic partnership with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and earn the distinction of being named an International Model City for Compassion four years in a row.
“Our vision is to create a place where all people in our community have the opportunity, desire, and support to engage in year-round service and compassion,” said Dr. Babar, Chair, Compassionate Louisville. “Our purpose is simple, to empower all people to flourish.”
Compassionate Louisville board members include:
Mayor Greg Fischer and the Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville today announced the sixth annual Mayor’s Week of Valor — a series of events to honor and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of active-duty military, veterans and their families.
Coinciding with Veterans Day, the 2019 Week of Valor will feature 27 educational, patriotic, community or civic events from Nov. 2 through Nov. 13. Residents are encouraged to participate and recognize, support and honor veterans.
Events include a 22 Push-Up Challenge on Nov. 2, a Women Veterans Town Hall on Nov. 7, and a Veterans Wellness Expo + Run/Walk on Nov. 9.
Also on Monday, Nov. 11, the city’s Veterans Day Parade will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Louisville this year on Jefferson Street, between Fourth and Seventh streets. The parade welcomes all military personnel and veterans, either in groups or as individuals, to participate. (There is no cost to enter; participants are asked to contact email@example.com or call 502-552-1131.)
“Our freedoms are here for us because of the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” Fischer said. “We’re asking residents from across the community to come out and show support during the Week of Valor to honor the people who’ve helped keep our country free.”
A full schedule of events is attached or can be found at http://louisvilleky.gov/weekofvalor.
Mayor Greg Fischer today joined Metro Animal Services and Friends of Metro Animal Services (FOMAS) for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open a state-of-the-art animal shelter at 3516 Newburg Road, which replaces the outdated facility on Manslick Road.
“Our community deserves a modern, full-service animal shelter that provides the best care possible for animals and the most efficient service possible for residents,” Mayor Fischer said. “Our Metro Animal Services has been doing an outstanding job in recent years, finding homes for a record number of animals and reaching ‘no kill for time or space’ status for the first time in its history. This shelter is the perfect place for the LMAS team to provide their top-notch, compassionate service.”
The 33,000-square-foot facility puts all animal-related services on one campus where residents can adopt a pet, purchase or renew a pet license or take a stray pet.
“Animals Services has operated from two locations for a decade, complicating how our agency operates and confusing the public that uses our services,” said Ozzy Gibson, LMAS Shelter Director. “Not only is our campus now conveniently accessible to all Jefferson County residents, it saves us money that we can use to find more ways to help our shelter pets.”
The new facility can house up to 235 animals and features all climate-controlled kennels with isolation rooms to prevent the spread of illness. A modern veterinary wing meets industry standards and includes the shelter’s first X-ray and ultrasound machines, allowing LMAS to quickly evaluate sick and injured pets. There are four operating tables as well as separate rooms for pets being prepped and recovering from surgery.
The nearly $11.6 million dollar facility also includes a fully furnished clinic, which will operate independently from the shelter, offering pet owners low-cost spay and neuter services, vaccinations and microchipping. “Our community has few options for people who cannot afford the average cost of spaying or neutering their pet. An independently run, low-cost clinic encourages responsible pet ownership, decreases our stray pet population and prevents shelter overcrowding,” said Gibson.
Specialty areas that were missing from the old facility give shelter pets a greater chance of being adopted. A behavioral room allows staff to train or correct undesirable behaviors while a photo room will ensure pets look their best in photos for potential adopters. There’s also a dedicated enrichment room where volunteers and groups can make treats for shelter pets.
“A huge part of the success of Metro Animal Services is their employees and supporters. Friends of Metro Animal Services is honored to have helped make a modern shelter a reality, not just shelter pets, but also the staff and volunteers,” said FOMAS Executive Director Susanna Westerfield. “They have struggled for decades to properly care for animals in a rundown, outdated facility. These every day heroes deserve nothing but the best to continue providing quality care to shelter pets.”
A large laundry room with commercial washing machines and dryers replace the old shelter’s appliances intended for home use. Separate food prep areas equipped with commercial dishwashers make feeding time and cleanup more efficient.
Benefits of the new shelter go beyond the building to include more enrichment opportunities for shelter pets. The campus features six fenced-in play yards compared to just one at the old facility. There’s also a half-mile walking track where volunteers can walk a dog on their lunch break.
“Many of us have long awaited this day. This state-of-the-art facility is just the latest in a long series of changes we have made as a city to address the needs of Louisville Metro Animal Services,” said Metro Council District 10 representative Pat Mulvihill. “Public Safety is one of our many goals as elected officials, and now we are not only protecting the public but protecting the animals in need of a new home or returning them to their owners. It is a great day for those who love pets and want the humane treatment of all animals.”
The LMAS Animal Care Facility is located next to Animal House Adoption Center, which was built in 2009. Shelter construction began in July 2018 with funding from Louisville Metro Government and gracious donations from FOMAS and the Harshaw Family Foundation. The LMAS Animal Care Campus is also the future home of Alley Cat Advocates, which manages the Community Cat Program.
The LMAS Animal Care Facility is open 12-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Animal House Adoption Center is now open seven days a week, excluding holidays. Meet adoptable pets daily from 12-6 p.m., and Fridays from 12-7 p.m.. For more information about MAS and Pay It Forward Free Adoptions, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/animal-services.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that global design and consultancy firm Arcadis is donating engineering and design services to Russell: A Place of Promise, in support of its community engagement efforts around vacant warehouses at 3025 W. Madison St.
Russell: A Place of Promise is an economic justice-based initiative created through a partnership between Louisville Metro Government, Cities United and the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. It focuses on generating investments in the people and places that make Louisville’s historically African American Russell neighborhood special.
“The key to being a good steward of investment like the kind we’re seeing in Russell is to be intentional about making sure that as we regenerate, we don’t displace,” the Mayor said. “That’s what Russell: A Place of Promise is about, and we appreciate the Arcadis partnership, which should help us get even more residents involved.”
Arcadis will help document current building conditions and plan for the future redevelopment of the Madison Street warehouse property.
As part of that work, Russell: A Place of Promise is inviting Russell residents to participate in conversations that will shape the site design and the uses for the property, as well as consider a community ownership model that would allow residents to become co-owners of the project.
Russell: A Place of Promise staff will knock on doors and host multiple events to update and listen to residents. An initial open house is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, at Roosevelt-Perry Elementary School, 1615 W. Broadway.
“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with the Arcadis team,” said Anthony Smith, Executive Director of Cities United. “It will allow us to use technology to bring more community members into the planning and design process for the amazing Madison Street warehouses.”
The Madison Street warehouses were once the home of a cigar manufacturing operation and have housed several other industrial uses since the buildings were constructed. The warehouses are located immediately to the south of the Heritage West property where the Louisville Urban League is building its Sports and Learning Complex.
The approximately 3.6-acre property includes five buildings in various states of deterioration. Arcadis’ work will help Russell: A Place of Promise understand existing structural conditions to inform the community conversation around potential for redevelopment.
“Clearly, there is a strong sense of pride, energy and potential flowing from the Russell community,” said Joachim Ebert, CEO of Arcadis North America. “We’re thrilled that Arcadis can support Russell: A Place of Promise in taking bold moves to share a more prosperous and sustainable future for everyone who calls this neighborhood home.”
Russell was a center of black homeownership and has a history of being a vibrant and diverse hub of small, black-owned businesses that served neighborhood needs, created jobs, and contributed to neighborhood resilience. Redlining and urban renewal practices crippled Russell’s residential and business community, stifling opportunities for generational wealth building.
With nearly $1 billion in investment planned and underway, Russell is poised to experience neighborhood transformation. Russell: A Place of Promise is working to build a model for black wealth creation by connecting individuals and families to resources leading to home ownership, by building pathways and opportunities for traditional and nontraditional business retention and creation, and by developing innovative solutions for career-track job placement and growth.
25For more information about the open house and Russell: A Place of Promise’s work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, Mayor Greg Fischer joined Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and community members to unveil a new public art project, the Louisville Knot.
Through a series of bent and bundled steel tubes, the Louisville Knot transforms the Ninth Street highway underpass that connects Museum Row to west Louisville into a welcoming pedestrian thoroughfare. The installation, which is illuminated at dusk, serves as an interactive sculpture and street furniture that can be used as seating, tables, a bike rack, and an extra-large swing.
“For too long, we’ve allowed an imaginary distinction to exist between downtown and west Louisville along the Ninth Street corridor. By activating this previously underutilized space, the Louisville Knot welcomes residents and visitors to explore the corridors leading to the Portland and Russell neighborhoods,” the Mayor said. “I’m delighted to already see people of all ages and backgrounds coming together at the Louisville Knot.”
The Louisville Knot came out of a call for proposals from Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Downtown Partnership seeking a project that combined art, design, and infrastructure. The design team is led by Philadelphia-based Interface Studio Architects (ISA) with fabrication by Louisville’s Core Design.
“The Knot project was a special opportunity for ISA to get to know a city – its history and people – and devise a unique intervention to help enliven an underutilized piece of urban fabric. We hope the installation not only reinforces the Main Street link across two neighborhoods but motivates creativity, sharing, and social connections among the broadest range of people who live in and visit Louisville for many years to come,” said Brian Phillips, ISA Principal.
The project was funded by Louisville Metro Government and the Rotary Club of Louisville.
“For 107 years, the Rotary Club of Louisville has supported worthy causes in our community,” said Luke B. Schmidt, Rotary Club of Louisville president. “The Club is focused on ‘Connecting our Community,’ and we believe the Louisville Knot’s location will help build a bridge as we work to eliminate the Ninth Street Divide.”
Mayor Greg Fischer joined with Metro Council members and community outreach representatives yesterday to announce the initiatives that will receive Louisville Metro Government funding to continue addressing the needs of homeless individuals and families in the city.
Building on work started early in 2019 when the city allocated $500,000 for programs, the plan provides $1 million from the city’s FY20 operating budget toward initiatives chosen in collaboration with the Coalition for the Homeless to align with the eight recommendations outlined in the University of Louisville study, “Solving Street Homelessness in Louisville, Kentucky,” released in June.
“Louisville, like many American cities, has seen a rise in unsheltered homelessness in recent years and an increase in homeless encampments. We’ve made clear progress but there’s more work to do to ensure that every Louisvillian has a place to call home,” said Mayor Fischer said, adding that, “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. We have to help our homeless population deal with and overcome their challenges one person at a time. That’s what a compassionate city does.”
The allocations include:
The newest round of funding is part of work begun in fall 2017 when Mayor Fischer created the Homeless Encampment Task Force, chaired by Eric Friedlander, director of the Office of Resilience and Community Services.
That team helped inform decisions made about the funding allocations in January, which resulted in these outcomes:
“We know that no one idea will address the multiple issues impacting people who are homeless, nor the complex needs of this diverse population,” said Friedlander. “That’s why I am so appreciative of the work, expertise and understanding of our partners, including organizations that are part of the coalition, and the street outreach groups that engage people where they are. Working together, we’ve shown we can make a difference.”
Metro Councilman Bill Hollander (District 9) said: “This funding builds on the work we started in January. It provides shelter for men, women and families and also funds outreach workers who can help address the root causes of homelessness. Even as Louisville Metro deals with a very difficult budget, we can’t ignore the needs of our neighbors experiencing homelessness.”
Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (District 4) said: “Our local government is focused on implementing common sense solutions for the complex challenges surrounding those experiencing homelessness. I have stated several times before, there is room for everyone to step up and help. In addition to the more than $1.5 million made available during this past year we still need more businesses, nonprofit organizations, healthcare, education and the interfaith communities to reimagine their roles and create common sense solutions that will produce real results for real people needing assistance because this is our reality.”
Friedlander added that the city also provides support to issues that directly affect homelessness, including $41 million invested in affordable housing over the past four years, implementing a plan to battle substance-use disorders, and directing $1.5 million in federal funding to local agencies such as the coalition, Volunteers of America, St. John Center and Wayside.
“The Coalition for the Homeless is so excited to see the city’s commitment to addressing the needs and best practices identified in the University of Louisville ‘Solving Street Homeless in Louisville, Kentucky’ Study,” said Natalie Harris, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “We know these important programs saved lives over the last six months and are excited to see them extended and improved.”
The U of L report, “Solving Street Homelessness in Louisville, Kentucky,” was the result of a five-month long assessment study that outlined the process of applying best practices to Louisville’s Continuum of Care (CoC), a process developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that helps communities across America address the problems of homelessness in a coordinated, comprehensive and strategic way.
Mayor Greg Fischer today proclaimed September to be Optimal Aging Month in Louisville as part of a national observation of Healthy Aging Month.
The Mayor presented the Optimal Aging Month proclamation to Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the University of Louisville’s Trager Institute for Optimal Aging, at the institute’s annual Gold Standard of Optimal Aging Recognition Luncheon, which recognizes adults who are 85 years or older and lead engaged lives in the areas of physical, spiritual, social, civic, and creative.
“As the home to one of the largest collections of aging care innovation headquarters in the nation, Louisville is at the center of breakthrough technologies and cutting-edge therapies around improving quality of life as we age,” said the Mayor. “We are a compassionate city, and it is our responsibility to ensure every resident can meet their full human potential no matter their age, income or zip code.”
Lifelong Wellness and Aging is one of Louisville’s five key clusters that drive the economy forward. With its critical mass of aging and health care companies, Louisville has a collaborative innovation ecosystem focused on improving health outcomes at all ages. Its momentum is apparent with the strength of the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, Health Enterprise Network, and UofL’s state-of-the-art research facilities.
The UofL Trager Institute strives to give more individuals the opportunity for aging optimally as part of its mission to innovate the aging experience through leading-edge clinical practice, collaborative research and inter-professional education.
The Republic Bank Foundation Optimal Aging Clinic at the UofL Trager Institute opens this week in its renovated space on Market Street.
“We are so excited to invite patients to our new clinic that focuses on a research-based approach, promoting lifestyle changes and preventative medicine that will help people flourish and optimally age,” Faul said.
The clinical services include executive wellness exams, medication management, chronic disease management, optimal aging life planning and mental health.
In recognition of Optimal Aging Month, community partners are hosting the following events:
Saturday, Sept. 7
8:30 a.m., 231 Witherspoon St. – Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park.
Wednesday, Sept. 11
7 to 8 p.m., 8023 Catherine Lane – Beer with Scientist Sam Cotton, program manager in Trager Institute’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program at Holsopple Brewery.
Tuesday, Sept. 17
All day, 10617 Taylorsville Road – Trauma-informed Care and Older Adult Symposium. Registration required on Eventbrite.com.
Wednesday, Sept. 18
All day, 2100 S. Floyd St. – Health Enterprises Network’s annual CONVERGE conference. Registration required at www.healthentreprisesnetwork.com/events/converge-louisville-2019/.
Friday, Sept. 20
Noon to 1 p.m., 204 E. Market St. – Project ECHO: Care of Older Adults, presentation and discussion about providing patient-centered care, improving chronic health conditions, improving care around Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia, and increasing collaborative care.
Tuesday, Sept. 24
Louisville Business First Aging Innovation breakfast presented in partnership with the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council. Registration required at https://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/event/164433/2019/aging-innovation-breakfast.
Thursday, Sept. 26
8:30 to 10:30 a.m., 1020 E. Burnett Ave – Age-Friendly Louisville Community Progress Report Breakfast with guest speaker Bill Armbruster from AARP National AARP Livable Cities Team at MUSCL Senior Wellness Center.
For more information on aging information and events, subscribe to the Aging & Disabled Citizens’ monthly newsletter or visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/resilience-and-community-services/of….