Sheppard Square demolition to begin Friday, neighbors hope for a decline in crime


by WHAS11

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 1 at 4:13 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Starting at 9:00 Friday morning, crews will demolish the Sheppard Square housing complex. The project was delayed for months as they removed asbestos and wires from buildings.

Asbestos must be removed from roofs so it does not end up in a landfill.

But before Howell and Howell Contracting start up their demolition machine, they are going to recycle anything they can. That includes aluminum, copper and anything else that can be salvaged.

The new complex will replace 326 low-income apartments, built in 1943, with 450 new ones. The complex is funded by a $22 million Federal grant.

Many in Smoketown, like Angela Nabber, hope that it will also help reduce violent crime.

"It's still shootings, people do it down the street, it hasn't changed. It's still the same, maybe if they demolish it and do something better with it, it may be a better place,"
said Nabber.

In a few years, Sheppard Square could look  like Liberty Green, a mixed-income neighborhood close to University Hospital.

It could be a much quieter neighborhood with tree-lined streets. People biking and walking enjoying themselves.

Michael McWhorter's mother lives in Liberty Green. He says there are few reports of violent crime there. When asked if he thought Liberty Green was safe he responded, "Oh yes, most definitely safe."

Carless Stanley used to live at the Clarksdale housing project. Now living at Liberty Green, she can't wait for Sheppard Square to come down.

"Yes I think that's a good thing they did that. It'll keep down some of the violence and crime and the drugs," said Stanley.

The City's plan includes $142 million to eventually revamp not only Sheppard Square but also renew sewer lines, add streets and a new community center.

It could take an estimated three to five years to revitalize the Smoketown neighborhood.