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City Housing Authority Head: Changing Beecher Terrace Is Key To Russell Recovery

Beecher Terrace in 2016
Beecher Terrace in 2016

Louisville’s Russell neighborhood has experienced unprecedented success during it’s two year quest to acquire grant funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The neighborhood received nearly $32 million in grants that have helped fuel a sweeping revitalization. And it’s the only neighborhood to be awarded funding in all three of the federal agency’s granting rounds.

I spoke with Tim Barry, the executive director of the city’s housing authority, about that success and the process moving forward. Listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

On getting the community involved in revitalization efforts:

"Well there's no magic formula, I think we had time. We were allowed during the course of the planning effort a sufficient amount of time to generate some interest. We had meetings at different times of day; you know, we had them in the day, we had them in the evening, we had them in different locations. We tried to provide transportation, and so we did everything we knew to do to encourage people to participate. But really is goes back to the Russell residents because they wanted to be there."

On the future of Beecher Terrace:

"The perception of Beecher Terrace is what kills you. It's not the people; it's not the people who lived there 20 or 30 years ago, it's not the people who live there today. It's the perception of public housing that creates a bit of a barrier along Ninth Street. Changing that look will help greatly.

"I think we all truly believe that it will have a ripple effect throughout Russell -- beginning in Russell -- and that ripple effect over the course of the next decade will make its way to the other neighborhoods in West Louisville."

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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