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Build A 'Better Block' In Shelby Park On Friday

Kyeland Jackson

Most people test-drive cars before they buy them. On Friday, Shelby Park residents can test-drive their neighborhood.

The 1200 block of South Logan Street and the 500 Block of East Oak Street in Shelby Park will transform Friday, adding temporary green spaces, street trees, benches and more for the Better Block-Shelby Park event.

The event, beginning Friday at 5 p.m and ending Saturday at 8 p.m, promises music, food, yoga and more for attendees. It's being hosted by Louisville’s Center for Neighborhoods.

Shelby residents designed the event’s layout during a workshop in March. Tom Stephens, executive director of the Center for Neighborhoods, said around 50 people pitched in. Most agreed on the same renovation needs, he said: beautification, traffic calming and spotlighting local businesses.

“When you look at Logan Street, it’s really barren. So [we were] looking at street trees and landscape material, annuals and the flowers that bring color,” Stephens said. “Every business that’s along this corridor has partnered and provided some kind of partnership. … We really want to see local businesses invest more in their buildings and in their property.”

Louisville’s event is one of many recreated by the Better Block Foundation. The nonprofit reaches out to communities nationwide, creating and testing a block design to measure in a neighborhood. Sometimes, the changes become permanent. But Better Block doesn’t always measure success by its projects’ permanence.

“Success definitely varies on the community," said Krista Nightengale, managing director at Better Blocks. "But a big part of what we’re trying to do is to get a neighborhood to come together and work on a project together,” 

A full agenda for Friday’s event is online.

CycLOUvia, an event promoting biking, skateboarding and walking for transport, happens Saturday as well. That event bars vehicles from certain streets, including one near Shelby Park. Combined, hundreds confirmed they would attend the events via Facebook.

Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. Email Stephen at sgeorge@lpm.org.

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