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Volume 22, Issue 10

The Old Louisville Journal

A Monthly Publication of News and Events in Old Louisville
Andrew Laing, Editor

PIC Meeting

Chair Notes

Letters to the Editor

5th District update

St. James Art  Show

Community Events

Community Soapbox

Cabbage Patch

Cultural Center



On Wednesday, October 18th at 7:30 P.M., there will be a forum at the Information Center to discuss City-County Merger. Bill Stone, former chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, and David Banks, former Alderman and present attormey to the Board of Alderman, will present the opposing views.


  Due to unavoidable production problems, this edition of the Journal has been delayed almost two weeks. This all will be rectified in our next issue. We are experiencing growing pains in trying to bring you the highest quality product we possibly can. We appreciate your bearing with us, and sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

October Calendar

Old Louisville Information Center
1240 S. Fourth St—In Central Park
Louisville, KY 40208

Phone (502) 635-5245 E-mail: OLIC@Oldlouisville.org


On September 14, 2000, the Property Improvement Committee held its monthly meeting.  Topics on the agenda were the Gheens Planetarium, presented by Jim Cheski, Assistant Vice President of U of L, an update on crime and safety from Major Dan Assef, and presentation of the final plans for the Ninth Street Extension.

Mr. Cheski presented the plans and goals for the Science Center and Rauch Planetarium.  The facility, as well as being used for teaching, will be open to the public.  He also invited everyone in attendance to a preview showing when the facility opens.

Major Dan Assef reported that crime in the neighborhood was down and that he would discuss the overall neighborhood concerns with his officers and staff.  He also stressed that if you notice any suspicious activity that you fill out a hot spot card (available at the Information Center) and turn it in at the Fifth District.  The Hot Spot cards help the District identify potential problem areas.

Mr. Bill Shreck, Director, City of Louisville Department of Inspections, Permits, and Licenses, was unable to attend the meeting.  In his place, Herb Fink gave a report on vacant and abandoned properties.  Mr. Fink reported that from the list of 55 plus properties  compiled in 1998, eight more properties have been added, but that fewer than thirty remain on the list today.  We owe our thanks to Herb and his committee for their efforts. 

Mr. Bill Herron, Director of Public Works, along with his staff, presented the final plans for the Ninth Street Extension project.  Their presentation discussed buffer landscaping, public utilities, and traffic patterns.  Information presented included the partial closing of Seventh Street while utilities are rerouted and updated.  There would be two interchanges.  One would exit onto Oak Street, which could become a two way street.  The second intersection would tie to Seventh Street between Myrtle and Magnolia. The extension will give direct access for commercial traffic to the Shively Industrial Park.

After the presentation, the floor was open for discussion.  Penny Johnson, who lives on Floral Terrace, asked where the excavating equipment would be stored.  Mr. Herron stated the equipment would be stored at the old CSX property on Seventh Street.  Mrs. Johnson then expressed her concern over the use of the CSX property, in terms of how noise and dust during construction will effect residents of Floral Terrace.

Gary Leist, President of Central Park West Association, reiterated his concern over construction during late evening hours, and the effect on the residents from the construction equipment on Seventh Street. A pledge was made to resolve these issues with those  most affected.

 Dan Koch asked about the Oak Street interchange and changing the Oak Street traffic pattern to two-way.  What effect would increased traffic have on the redevelopment of retail on Oak Street?  Was curbside parking to be retained or was the plan to do away with parking?  The possibility of widening the lanes on Oak Street and doing away with parking was mentioned.  This raised concerns with all in attendance and a vote was called.  All in attendance voted to retain the curbside parking on Oak Street and this was relayed to Mr. Herron. 

Others expressed their concerns about commercial truck traffic currently traversing the neighborhood. Trucks now frequent Myrtle and Magnolia.  Several parked vehicles have been struck by trucks attempting to make turns onto Sixth Street from Myrtle and Magnolia.  Also, one home on Myrtle has been damaged twice by commercial truck traffic.  Currently the neighborhood is being used as a short cut for commercial traffic.  The major concern was that an Oak Street interchange could provide a direct shortcut from Ninth Street to I-65.  Residents asked if a traffic impact study had been done concerning the increase of commercial traffic on Oak, or if Oak Street’s commercial truck traffic was going to be prevented from entering the neighborhood via the Oak Street interchange.  Mr. Herron indicated that a sign could be put up at the Oak Street exit prohibiting trucks. Other information was presented that truck traffic probably could be legally  prohibited from Oak Street.

Another resident expressed concern that the underpasses just south of where the new Ninth Street will merge into the present Seventh may be too low for all truck traffic and would thus cause Oak Street congestion.

The consensus that the issues of the underpasses and how to discourage or prohibit all truck traffic within the neighborhood should be studied carefully.

Other information on updates to the Ninth Street Extension will be posted on the web at Oldlouisville.com  as they become available.

Chair Notes

Focus and Imagination

 “You can’t depend upon your judgment when your imagination is out of focus,” Mark Twain.

Just over one hundred years ago, Lord Kelvin, one of the world’s most eminent scientists and President of the Royal Society, stated that heavier-than-air flight would never be possible.  In a few short years, as everyone knows, the Wright Brothers had proved him wrong.

About the same time, the Director of the United States Patent Office predicted that his agency would soon be out of business.  Why?  Everything that could be invented had been invented.  Television, computers, supersonic aircraft, manned space flights, and nuclear energy were only a few of the next centurie’s inventions that escaped his vision.  Fast forward sixty or seventy years.  My friend, Herb Fink, told me that the first time he saw this neighborhood, it seemed almost impossible to him that certain areas would ever again be composed largely of well maintained, single family homes.  Before we laugh too hard at any of these people-particularly Herb-let’s consider what the historian C.V. Wedgewood said:  “History is lived forwards, but it is written in retrospect.  We know the end before we consider the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was to know the beginning only.”  Food for thought; though I would suggest that some people can come closer to this than others.  I’m not among them.  Let me explain and at the same time confess.

My judgment certainly would strike you as awry if I told you that two years ago I offered the sage counsel that additional rezoning of our neighborhood would come at such a high price-if at all-that it wasn’t worth pursuing.  More recently, I proclaimed that City Carts would make no difference.  I often opined over the years that most of us were unlikely to live long enough to see the area between Broadway and Oak Street look much better than 1945 Dresden, and I always pondered in my own mind whether the Ninth Street Extension was really  a terribly bright idea, because there would be no way to keep trucks off east-west streets between Ninth and I-65.  It apparently never struck me that one-way streets didn’t have to stay that way. (I know: This one remains to be seen, but given my batting average, you’d be wise to bet that it will work out.)  Am I a fool, utterly unable to depend on his own judgment?  Well, it would be none too difficult, I’m sure, to find those  willing to testify to that effect.  But before you move too fast in that direction, I’ll offer a slightly more charitable self-appraisal.  My imagination has been out of focus.

Thoreau pointed out that many objects aren’t seen, though they fall within the range of our vision, because they don’t come within the range of our intellectual vision. In other words, because we have difficulty believing that something can (or does) exist, we may not be capable of seeing it.  Here’s what I’m trying to see today: a neighborhood that is clean everywhere you look and that is generally perceived as safe; a completely developed Oak Street corridor, and a So Bro with housing and accompanying amenities; a Ninth Street Extension that really is completed and really does keep truck traffic out of Old Louisville; a neighborhood with no abandoned buildings, and a neighborhood with social service facilities that all respect human life and welfare so that they really are homes in a neighborhood setting and not just warehouses.  As the moment my focus is sharp enough to see all of this.  Will that focus hold?  I hope so, if I concentrate.  Maybe one day, I’ll even be accused of good using judgment.

Dick Calloway



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