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Greenberg discusses public safety, early education in annual address

Man in blue suit speaks with both hands pointing to his left in front of a mural of Louisville, American flag and near a clear lectern displaying the Louisville crest.
J. Tyler Franklin
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LPM
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg discussed his first year in office and highlighted future projects in his State of the City Address on Feb. 1, 2024.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg delivered his second State of the City remarks on Thursday. He touted various initiatives from his first year in office, including efforts around policing and pre-K.

Mayor Craig Greenberg spoke at the Summit Wellness Center, a new police facility in the Saint Joseph neighborhood. It opened in October, as part of a more than $15 million investment in facilities for the Louisville Metro Police Department.

That money came from federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated to the city, and was earmarked for police reforms amid the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into police misconduct. Members of Greenberg’s administration said at the time that the facilities would contribute to reform. Metro Council members eventually approved the plan to lease the wellness center and renovate a new LMPD headquarters.

On Thursday, Greenberg praised the center as a necessary tool to improve officers’ well-being, which he said would lead to a better police culture and a safer city.

“To save lives and put a stop to violence, we have to have a police department that is trusted, transparent and well-trained,” he said.

Kevin Trager, a spokesperson for Greenberg, said they chose to hold the speech at the wellness center because it is “an example of a great partnership between Metro and the [Louisville Metro] Police Foundation, who came together to create a resource that provides our first responders with a place to enrich their mental, physical, and emotional health.”

Louisville Metro is planning to spend more than $400,000 a year to lease the center for LMPD from the foundation, a private nonprofit, through 2026. After that, the lease will be $1 a year.

Louisville is expected to enter into a consent decree with the DOJ to fix problems within LMPD, which some public safety officials estimated could require up to $10 million per year. A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment Thursday on whether it has submitted a draft of the agreement to the city yet.

Man in blue suit speaks in front of mural that says "We Have Your Back!". Screens displaying his image flank him, and a seated crowd is visible in front of him.
J. Tyler Franklin
/
LPM
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg praised the new police wellness center during his speech at the facility.

Greenberg also pointed to downward trends in local gun crime. The city’s gun violence dashboard shows fatal and non-fatal shootings dropped in 2023 after peaking in 2021.

Louisville recently announced it would devote more resources to target repeat gun offenders and increase the operating hours of a program diverting certain 911 calls to social workers.

In another effort to improve public safety, Greenberg said his administration also plans to implement a free preschool and kindergarten program.

He described universal pre-K as a legacy-defining goal that would also improve workforce and health outcomes in the city, and said the Office of Philanthropy has been working with the Mayor’s Early Learning Action Group to achieve it.

“We’ll announce the first steps in our long-term plan to achieve this goal in the next few weeks,” Greenberg said.

Late last year, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear included funding for universal pre-K in his proposed two-year budget. But Republicans, who comfortably control the Kentucky legislature, did not include it in their House budget plan.

At Tuesday’s event, Greenberg also promoted his administration’s new economic development and housing plans. And he said renovations on the Algonquin Park pool would begin next week.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.