Seed Capitol KY, the nonprofit behind the West Louisville FoodPort, recently announced that their project on 24 acres of land is not going to happen. If you were for or against the project, at this point it doesn’t matter. What does matter is what’s next. What do you do with 24 acres of land in the middle of West Louisville?
On that site, I would love to see a year round indoor/outdoor permanent Haymarket. Something akin to the Findlay Market in Cincinnati. A grand structure that would have plenty of indoor booth space and a place for cafes with outdoor seating. Maybe a nice courtyard, where vendors can set up during those long summer days. I want our version of the Findlay to also serve as a catalyst for the rebuilding of the African-American merchant class. A place where a person can rent a booth for one year, and then, with the help of local agencies and programs, turn that into a full-time business and hopefully buy a storefront in west Louisville.
I would also like to see an outdoor semi-covered amphitheater with a play area. West Louisville has great parks, but it’s missing an outdoor event venue. This would be a great place to have concerts, plays, meetings and a gathering space.
Last, I would want to see housing at that site. Mixed-use, mixed-income apartment buildings with functional balconies that sit on Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Market Street. There should be ground-level retail with a rooftop garden or venue.
This may not provide the flash, be a transformative project or provide the number of jobs that city officials are looking for, but that’s OK. We would be building stronger neighborhoods, and a foundation for the future. •
Harrington is a sports talk-show host, writer and community leader who lives in the Russell neighborhood