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Bringing downtown back: Revitalization team has big plans for Louisville

The opening of the Grady Hotel is one of the first steps to bringing downtown Louisville back to its former glory.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The revitalization of downtown Louisville is all around us as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite the struggles of the past year, major players in these businesses are still hopeful that our city will come back better than ever. 

For example, it's not every day a brand-new luxury hotel opens up downtown. On the heels of a pandemic, the opening of the Grady Hotel was a welcomed sight.

"We thought, let's check it out and we wound up purchasing it to do a luxury boutique hotel that tells the Louisville story," said Mitch Patel, the owner of Grady Hotel.

If this hotel tells the story of Louisville, its opening tells the story of an ever-growing desire for a return to normalcy. 

"Whiskey Row is back to Whiskey Row," said Grady Hotel General Manager Laurent Geroli. "This street is becoming more of an attraction every day."

That's the kind of progress the downtown revitalization team wants to see. In their final meeting on Tuesday, they laid out a detailed plan for bringing downtown back.

RELATED: Downtown Revitalization Team focuses on safety, green and clean efforts in new action plan

The plan includes millions of dollars in spending and numerous goals like expanding the waterfront, fixing street lights, creating new events, and recruiting Black-owned businesses. 

So far, the feedback has been good. 

"What we're hearing is really heartwarming," said Louisville Forward Co-Chief Rebecca Fleischaker. "It is coming back."

Fleischaker said she's seen the area transform since last June. Businesses that were boarded up and closed are reopening and the workforce is returning - even just in the last week.

The goal is to keep that momentum going with short, mid, and long-range plans all aimed at highlighting what makes Louisville, Louisville.  

"It just shows that there is confidence in Louisville as a great place to be." 

Contact reporter Daniel Sechtin at dsechtin@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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