Sunday February 23, 2020
News Sections

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel LLC, a full-service used bourbon and whiskey barrel cooperage, will invest $850,000 and create 35 full-time jobs over the next five years as it relocates its Louisville operation, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Gov. Matt Bevin announced today.

“Kentucky Bourbon Barrel’s expansion is proof that our city’s strong culture of entrepreneurship, mixed with our native spirit, is a winning combination,” Mayor Fischer said. “We congratulate KBB on their relocation and an expansion that will bring positive job growth and investment to the Park Hill neighborhood in west Louisville, and we look forward to seeing their continued success.”

Gov. Bevin welcomed news of the company’s growth.

“We are pleased to announce Kentucky Bourbon Barrel will keep its operation in Louisville with this relocation to a larger facility,” Gov. Bevin said. “The company’s business model showcases the vast expanse of Kentucky’s bourbon industry, even beyond the typical bourbon-making practice. Barrels used in the aging process of Kentucky bourbon are in high demand around the world. It is exciting to see a company like Kentucky Bourbon Barrel capitalize on that market, while simultaneously creating new jobs in the Louisville region.”

KBB will move from Rochester Drive to West Hill Street. Renovations on the new facility will start this week with completion of phase I scheduled by the end of June. The project will help KBB meet increased demand and position it for continued growth.

“Our new location in Louisville is the perfect spot to support our expansion plan,” said Tim Ratliff, president of KBB. “The building has ideal storage conditions and enough space to meet the growing demands of our customers. This relocation confirms our commitment to quality and superior customer service, as well as supporting Louisville’s urban development.”

Independent Stave Co. (ISC) founded KBB in 2013 as a Louisville-based subsidiary. KBB provides select ready-to-fill used barrels to distilleries, wineries and breweries around the world. KBB purchases freshly dumped American white oak bourbon and whiskey barrels from distillers in the heart of Bourbon Country. It then refurbishes and distributes those barrels for storage of spirits, beer or wine.

ISC, a family-owned cooperage company, reaches distilleries, wineries and breweries in more than 40 countries. The Boswell family founded the company in 1912, first as a domestic supplier of staves, and today as a cooperage company crafting a wide range of barrels and oak products. The company owns seven stave mills in total: one in northeastern France and six American oak mills. Among its US operations are the 105-employee Morehead Wood Products in Rowan County and Benton Wood Products in Marshall County, which opened in fall 2017.

Sen. Denise Harper Angel, of Louisville, said the company has a promising future in the community.

“We are pleased that Kentucky Bourbon Barrel chose to relocate in Louisville and believe that the company will continue to be a great fit,” Sen. Angel said. “We have much to offer, especially with our highly skilled, dedicated workforce ready to fill their needs. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership.”

Rep. Reginald Meeks, of Louisville, thanked the company for its commitment to the area.

“The booming growth of the bourbon industry is one of Louisville’s great economic development stories in recent years, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel is a key part of that success,” Rep. Meeks said. “I want to thank its leaders for investing so much and adding these jobs. I also appreciate the hard work of our local and state economic development officials for helping to make announcements like this possible.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in January preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $400,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KBB also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer cut the ribbon today on a new JCPS satellite office that will better serve students and families in west Louisville communities.

“Creating an office that would provide equitable access to district services and resources for our families in west Louisville was a top priority for me when I became acting superintendent,” Dr. Pollio said. “By taking our services directly to the community, as this new office will do, we can engage with families and promote family involvement in a much greater way.”

The new office, located inside the California Community Center on West Saint Catherine Street, officially opens on January 4, 2018. The office will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The community center is operated by the city of Louisville, which is allowing JCPS to use the space free of charge.

“This is another example of JCPS bringing services directly to its customers – students and their parents – in the neighborhoods where they live,” said Mayor Fischer.  “The city is honored to partner with JCPS by offering space in one of our community centers.”

JCPS will provide services to families at the new office through a variety of departments:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Programs—Staff will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays to connect parents with resources that strengthen educational access and student achievement, which will include out-of-school-time learning opportunities, volunteer recruitment, Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) groups, homeless education, and foster care services. The department will also facilitate meetings with families, community stakeholders, and organizations at the satellite office with the purpose of improving student learning.
  • Exceptional Child Education (ECE)—Staff will be available on Thursdays to focus on the individual needs of students who are eligible for special education and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The department will help with assessments that determine special education eligibility. ECE staff will schedule student Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) meetings at the satellite office to review progress and develop a new Individual Education Program (IEP). The ECE Service Delivery staff includes one placement specialist as well as a parent liaison assigned on a rotating schedule.
  • Student Assignment—Staff will be at the satellite office each Thursday to assist families with applications for students who are entering kindergarten or who have a change of address. They will also help families who wish to submit a student transfer request or learn more about optional and magnet programs in the district.
  • Student Relations—Staff will be available on Tuesdays to meet with students and families on Tuesdays who are recommended for choice and alternative school placement. They will work with the case manager, school staff, parents, and students to make appropriate decisions regarding student placement in choice and alternative behavior support schools.
  • Title I—Parents will find information provided by the Title I Office on topics that include getting involved at their child’s school and how to find counselling, tutoring or other related services. Parents will also be able to learn more about the topics presented at the monthly Parent Advisory Council meetings.  Title 1 will hold some parent meetings at the site.

“Being able to build a bridge from school to home is integral when talking about the success of our students,” Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) Member Diane Porter said. “I appreciate Dr. Pollio and all of the JCPS staff for making this investment of time and resources in west Louisville—our students and their families are worth it.”

Passport Health Plan announced today that it has acquired a significant West Louisville property at 18th Street and Broadway. Passport’s plan for the 20-acre site is to create a state-of-the-art Health and Wellness Campus to serve the needs of the local community and house its 500-plus employees in its new corporate headquarters.

Plans for the campus would include health- and service-based retail sites adjacent to the newly announced YMCA facility. Together, the new developments will help transform this important section of West Louisville by providing much-needed services, jobs, and economic development opportunities. Before construction begins, Passport will engage the West Louisville community through a series of meetings and listening sessions to hear about residents’ needs and desires for the Health and Wellness Campus.

“Passport Health Plan is growing because of the great service we provide to our members, and we need to find a new home for our current and future employees,” CEO Mark B. Carter said at a news conference announcing the purchase. “After 20 years in the Louisville community, we realize that to truly meet our mission – to improve the health and quality of life of our members – we need to build a new model in healthcare. This new campus, and our initiative to integrate social determinants of health into our health plan, will ensure access to resources and services in our community and beyond to help our members flourish in all aspects of their lives.”

The corporate headquarters will initially be home to Passport’s current 500-plus employees, but will be designed with the extensive future growth in mind.

“With our community partners and local residents, we hope to add services to the community beyond clinical care, services that are person-centered,” Carter added. “We realize that access to housing, food, jobs, and other resources are key drivers to good health and wellness, and we look forward to facilitating a number of community conversations over the coming months as we strive to help transform and revitalize our community.”

According to the financial terms of the deal, Passport has acquired the parcels from New Bridge Development for $9.1 million. A letter of intent with Metro Louisville includes provisions subject to Metro Council approval, including the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan – the first TIF established west of 9th Street – estimated at $2.8-$4 million over 20 years.

“Passport is a great and growing company and its decision to relocate its headquarters to 18th and Broadway is a huge win for west Louisville – and for the city at large,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Passport and its employees are driven by the same core values that we embrace as a city – compassion, health, and lifelong learning. Metro Government is honored to help make this deal a reality.”

Moving to West Louisville will allow Passport to work more closely with members in a new model that addresses the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. By creating a new corporate home in West Louisville, Passport aims to improve the environment in which it works while also enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, placing a high priority on a working environment that encourages excellence and engagement on the part of all associates.

“For years, the University of Louisville has been collaborating with a large number of organizations through the Signature Partnership to enhance overall well-being on the West Side of Louisville,” said Dr. Greg C. Postel, interim president of the University of Louisville. “Having Passport, a company strictly focused on improving the health not only of individuals but also communities, establish its headquarters in the neighborhood will bring renewed energy to all of our efforts.”

Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit managed care organization (MCO) that has been contracted with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to administer Medicaid benefits since 1997. It is sponsored by the University of Louisville Physicians, University Medical Center, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Norton Healthcare, and the Louisville/Jefferson County Primary Care Association. It has been serving residents in all 120 counties of Kentucky since 2004, and currently counts more than 300,000 Kentuckians as members. There are also more than 25,000 providers in Passport’s provider network, including primary care physicians, hospitals, specialists, and more.

The West Louisville Community Council (WLCC), One West, and Louisville Forward
are offering west Louisville the opportunity to share the historic legacy of the Shawnee, Russell, and Portland
neighborhoods through art. This partnership of local residents, non-profit organizations and city government is asking artists to submit artwork that can be considered for display on a billboard at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard on the Heritage West site.
Designs will be accepted from middle school students through adults who live, work, worship, or learn in the 40203,40210, 40211, or 40212 zip codes. Designs must help tell the story of a vibrant west Louisville community with active families, rich history, and numerous possibilities. This is an opportunity for west Louisville residents to tell their story through art.
A panel of local west Louisville artists will select the best work from each of three categories: Middle/High School (grades 6-12), Young Adult (ages 18-35), and adult (age 36+). The community will then be invited to vote for their favorite design at the March 13, 2017 WLCC Meeting. Cash awards will be presented to the 1st ($500), 2nd ($300), & 3rd ($100) place designs.
The Heritage West Art Competition will officially launch on February 6, 2017 at the WLCC Meeting held at Southern Star Community Center ( 2308 Algonquin Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40210) from 6:00-7:30pm. During the meeting entry forms and complete guidelines will be made available. Entry forms can also be downloaded at after the February 6th meeting.
The deadline for entry is Monday, February 27, 2017.
Everyone is invited to the WLCC Meeting on February 6th. In addition to launching the Heritage West Art Competition, we will present the WLCC Development Priorities & Visioning Report and initial strategies for community input regarding development of Heritage West. The Development Priorities & Visioning Report is a presentation of ideas gathered from a community visioning session held at the Louisville Urban League in September 2016.
Contact: Ramona Lindsey, , WLCC P. O. Box 11293, Louisville, KY 40291

Council members Jessica Green (D-1), Mary C. Woolridge (D-3) and Kelly Downard (R-16) are supporting a petition started by the Reverend Kirk M. Bush of Harrods Creek Baptist Church, asking Wal-Mart to reconsider their recent decision to cancel plans for the new supercenter development that was planned for 18th and Broadway.

“We Need Wal-Mart, We Want Wal-Mart, we are encouraging them to rethink their decision and come back to the table,” said Green.  “We are desperate for the same goods, services and conveniences available in other parts of our community and implore Wal-Mart to give the 18th and Broadway development another chance.”

A petition of nearly 5000 signatures in support of Wal-Mart at 18th and Broadway was collected in less than three weeks early in 2016, in an effort to keep Wal-Mart at the table during litigation.  The hope is that this new petition will far exceed those numbers and inspire Wal-Mart to revisit the 18th and Broadway development in west Louisville.

“With the loss of the Food Port, the announcement of the closing of the Shively Kroger, it is vital to the residents of West Louisville that we have GOT to have this Wal-Mart at 18th and Broadway,” said Woolridge.

“We need Wal-Mart, the BEST operator in the United States, to bring their wide array of quality products to people who want them and need them but, don’t have access to them now,”  said Councilman Kelly Downard.  “We need EVERYONE to sign the petition and bring Wal-Mart back.”

The online petition asking Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Greg Foran, President and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S.  to reconsider the decision regarding the 18th and Broadway location and reconsider building the supercenter to provide West Louisville with quality goods, services and jobs.  The petition can be found at

“We believe in Wal-Mart and what they will bring to the people of the west end who feel marginalized and forgotten,” said the Reverend Kirk M. Bush.  “Wal-Mart will bring much needed economic development, opportunities, jobs and will serve as a symbol that the residents of West Louisville have not been forgotten.”