LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – An old part of Smoketown is the latest piece of downtown Louisville to find new life.
Sheppard Square was originally erected in 1942 but as the years progressed, the homes began to deteriorate.
"The people living here suffered more with each passing decade. As businesses left Smoketown, buildings were abandoned. And other residents did their best to avoid the area. Except those perhaps... who chose to use Sheppard for unlawful activities," Mayor Greg Fischer said.
In 2013, construction crews began redeveloping Sheppard Square. The project began with a $22 million investment from the federal program Hope VI.
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With investment from other resources, the first phase of the $96 million project is now complete.
"What we're seeing is a transformation to livable, walkable neighborhoods – the way our city was 75 to 200 years ago," Mayor Fischer said.
454 new homes will be built to offer affordable housing for low income tenants and give them option to buy as well.
Leaders hope these types of redevelopments will bring business back, and show people the potential in these struggling neighborhoods.
"It creates vibrancy and density in our downtown core as people connect with each other and realize that we're all brothers and sister living together. At the end of the day, that's what a city is," Mayor Fischer said.
A new green space will also be put on the corner of Lampton and Preston Streets for residents and nearby middle school students.
All 454 units will also be smoke-free, and they plan to have all four phases finished by December 2015.