The Vault: Former Mayor Dave Armstrong's lasting legacy

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Former Mayor Dave Armstrong’s tenure as mayor stretched from 1999 through 2002, but his career in public service spanned nearly five decades.

Framed photos in Carol Armstrong’s home paint the picture of her husband’s lifelong dedication to his community.

“He just absolutely loved doing what he did and it showed – and he worked very hard, he had very few hobbies. He always like to say he went fishing and golfing but he didn’t do that much. You know, we’d go golfing on a Sunday afternoon very casually but his work was his life and his passion – and Louisville, he just loves Louisville,” she said.

Armstrong was a man of many titles – county judge, mayor, attorney general among others.

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Carol says it was her husband’s role in the revival of downtown Louisville that made him most proud. He had a dream for downtown and as mayor, he would bring that dream to life.

The year was 1999 and then Mayor Armstrong put together $6 million in public and private funds for downtown housing development. The move would bring high-rise condominiums and apartments to the Waterfront but Armstrong was just getting started.

Armstrong opened Louisville Extreme Park, just east of Slugger Field in 2002. The 40,000 square-foot public skate park was later renamed David Armstrong Extreme Park, a tip of the hat for the man who made it happen.

Armstrong’s signature project was Fourth Street Live, transforming downtown’s aging Galleria into a worldwide attraction.

He revisited the project with WHAS11’s Doug Proffitt in 2004, days before the grand opening of Fourth Street Live.

During that interview, Armstrong told Proffitt that the Galleria had to go and that it didn’t bring anyone downtown. He was surprised at how Fourth Street Live went beyond his expectations.

“I thought it’d be slow but I knew there was a demand for something like this downtown. People have not have not ever given up on downtown,” he said in the interview.

It was Dave Armstrong who "never gave up" on downtown. Watching it transform into a place where people would "live, work and play".

It was his slogan as Louisville Mayor and part of his lasting legacy – a new heartbeat for the city he loved to serve.