LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Plans are in motion to redevelop a prime piece of West Louisville real estate into a state-of-the-art indoor track and field facility.
Mayor Greg Fischer and Sadiqa Reynolds made the announcement Tuesday morning. The plans were chosen over three other proposals. The athletic complex was selected after the mayor’s office took public comments on four proposals to develop the deserted site.
“We were really intentional about considering the needs and the wants of the people who are going to be most affected by this large development and those who, frankly, have been underrepresented in conversations like this,” Fischer said.
The 24-acre piece of land at 30th and Muhammad Ali once housed the old Brown and Williamson cigarette plant. The city purchased the land several years ago with the hope of redeveloping it. The property was most recently thought to be the future home of a $56 million Foodport development until the project was canceled in 2016.
The proposal for the indoor track complex calls for a world-class facility built to USA Track and Field (USATF) standards. The development would have a 200-meter track with hydraulics, approximately 4,000 seats for spectators, and room for field events. The mayor’s office said it would be a place where professional, collegiate, and grade school students could compete. U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich has publicly supported the project.
No timeline has been set for the project, however, Reynolds said she hopes the facility will be operational by 2020.
The project is only the latest in a handful of investments announced for West Louisville. The resurgence of 18th and Broadway with the relocation of Passport Health and new YMCA, the redevelopment of Beecher Terrace, and the fourth phase of the Waterfront Park expansion are all in various stages.
“This is what we want. We want investment in our community. We want to be a part of everything that is happening in Louisville. We have already said we will rise and we will sink together,” Reynolds said. “This [project] is all of us coming together from every part of the community, different socioeconomic statuses, coming together to say this is worth it. We believe in this.”
The project comes with an estimated $30 million price tag. The city is expected to meet with the Louisville Urban League soon to negotiate a development agreement that will split up the financial responsibilities.
Officials said the city’s financial involvement would be “significant”, however, it is not clear if funds would be delivered in the form of budget appropriation, bonding, or some other means. The Urban League will be counting on corporate leaders, naming rights, private donations, and other sources to fulfill its share of the bill.