What Beecher Terrace Residents and Neighbors Say About the Complex's Possible Demolition
Mayor Greg Fischer's office and the Louisville Metro Housing Authority plan to apply for a $500,000 federal grant to demolish the largest remaining public housing complex in the city.The preliminary plan for Beecher Terrace has the support of one west Louisville community group as a way to economically improve the area, but an affordable housing advocate argues that the plan puts real estate over improving quality neighborhoods for the poor.Some Beecher Terrace residents tell WFPL that investment in the complex would help improve the area—not destroying it.Sherman Lee said Beecher Terrace, his home since the 1960s, doesn't need to be demolished. "As far as the young people, they need something to do," Lee said. "As far as the old people, they need jobs in here so they can take care of families—maybe they can get up out of here."As WDRB's Marcus Green first reported, the attempt to raze the 70-year-old complex is part of Fischer's overall vision to tear down the city's historic Ninth Street Divide.From WDRB:
"We never replaced Cotter and Lang, we haven't replaced Iroquois, and we have a thousand fewer public housing units than have ever had for families," said Cathy Hinko, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition.Hinko said the housing authority hasn't restored all of the pubic housing units lost from the Sheppard Square demolition that took place last year."This is not the moment in time to put even more pressure on families as a whole throughout Metropolitan Louisville and the loss of that subsidy to thousands of families is something beyond the neighborhood," she said.'Why Not Invest?'On Wednesday, Jesse Hall, 26, was helping a family member into her Beecher Terrace apartment. He also lives in Beecher Terrace—he's lived there his whole life. He said demolishing Beecher Terrace will not help improve the area."Why not invest in it and make it bigger and better?" Hall said. "Don't tear it down, if you tear it down all it's going to do is start a riot."Hall said Beecher Terrace has become home for others who couldn't afford or didn't qualify to live in the renovated mixed-income units found in Sheppard Square and Clarksdale.Tearing Beecher Terrace down would force some residents out on the streets or to another low-income housing project, he said."Which will be more people crowded, and there's going to be more deaths," he said. "It doesn't make any sense."Beecher Terrace could be improved by adding green spaces, water features and organizing activities that can engage all residents, he said.Hinko said a move to demolish Beecher Terrace wouldn't be about improving the lives of public housing complex's residents."In fact, what it says is you who live in Beecher Terrace, 'Boy, this would be a better place if only you would move out of the neighborhood and get some other people into this neighborhood,'" Hinko said.The city's application is due in August. Housing officials have said they plan to meet with residents to discuss the plan sometime next month.