The Old Louisville

Volume 22, Issues 10 & 11
Volume 23, Issue 1
January 2001

Page 1

Chair Notes

Letters to the Editor

5th District Police Study

St. James Art  Show

Community Events

Property Improvement

Zoning and Land Use



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

Phone (502) 635-5245


Fifty Chinese Elm Trees Planted on South 6th Street

Friday, October 20th marked the successful completion date for Phase I of a city tree planting project for South Sixth Street which was begun at the initiation of Sixth Street resident Andrew Laing. Last May Andrew prepared a sketch outlining every structure and house number for both sides of Sixth Street, from Hill Street to Park Avenue. Andrew included in this report notes on the condition of existing trees, the empty spaces in need of trees, and the sickly trees in need of removal. On May 26th, Andrew met with Alan Bishop, City of Louisville Arborist, to review and discuss the findings. At that point, Mr. Bishop was optimistic that the needed trees could be ordered for Sixth Street.

In late October, the city planted fifty Chinese Elms along both sides of Sixth Street from Hill Street to Park Avenue. Going beyond Andrew's original survey and report, the city has agreed to a second phase of tree planting, slated for completion in the Spring of 2001, which will encompass both sides of Sixth Street from Park Avenue to Oak Street.

Chinese Elm is a majestic tree which grows upward several feet before spanning outward. It is an excellent urban street tree as its growth will not disturb parked vehicles or pedestrians. Pruning should be minimal.

Growing up in New York City taught Andrew, among other things, to appreciate space. "If a tree can grow in Brooklyn, one certainly can thrive in Old Louisville," he exclaimed to one of the tree planters last month. Andrew chose his "inventory" to include Sixth Street well beyond the block he lives in because of his interest in the entire Old Louisville neighborhood. In other words, he literally chose the forest over the trees.

Property Improvement Committe Report

On September 14, the Property Improvement Committee of the OLNC met with Bill Schreck, the City of Louisville's Director of Inspections, Permits, and Licenses, to receive an update on approximately 45 pieces of property that have been objects of concern.

Fifteen sites are from early 1998's list of approximately fifty-five vacant and deteriorating properties. These are the fifteen that remain just that - vacant and deteriorating. Three of these - 103 W. Kentucky, 1452 S. Brook, and 1136 S. Fourth (the former Dobbs House Restaurant) are, we found, in the process of being taken by the City under the 1984 Spot Condemnation Law. Of the remaining dozen properties, any or all of the owners may be taken to court.

There are eight additional properties we have identified as having become vacant since our list was drawn up two and a half years ago, for a total of 23 vacant locations. One of the eight is going through the spot condemnation process.

In addition, there are nineteen properties that have been removed from the list (whew!), but need continued monitoring. We found varying degrees of improvement among these.

Of these two categories - the eight and the nineteen - the committee feels it would be advisable to invite most, if not all, of the owners to a committee meeting, perhaps in several small groups. This way, as each property comes up for review, the conversation with its owner would be heard by the other owners in the room. To the extent that people can be shamed or embarrassed this might exert an effective form of peer pressure.

As to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house at 1803 S. Third, it is a continuing cause for concern. However, it seems that there have been few recent complaints, aside from trash and litter. This needs to be brought to the fraternity's attention.

Finally, there have been many items of concern regarding Minerva Court, 1603 S. Second - dumpsters, grass, condition of buildings, etc. Though time did not allow Mr. Schreck to give a report on the situation, it appears that IPL is getting it under control. Thank you.

The next PIC meeting will be in January, 2001, most likely January 11.

Herb Fink, PIC Chair



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