LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly two years after the Louisville Urban League broke ground on a massive multi-sports complex, crews are putting the finishing touches on its 200-meter indoor track in preparation of their first event.
The long-anticipated 24-acre Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning complex is ready to make its debut Wednesday, hosting a University of Louisville track meet.
"The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming," said Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO of Louisville Urban League. "To think that the Urban League has been able to lead fundraising for this in this community under these conditions."
After announcing plans to redevelop a prime piece of West Louisville real estate, Reynolds gave a first look into the complex that will provide more than just a track and field.
In addition to the outside and indoor track and field, the center includes educational spaces, a media control room for sporting events, a rock climbing wall, a testing booth for athletes, and even a bowling alley. The indoor track and field can also turn into a concert venue.
"I don't know if West End residents even imagined they'd have a miniature bowling alley or an interactive rock-climbing wall," Reynolds said.
Over the course of 22 months, Reynolds said her team raised $43 million dollars to make their vision a reality.
"It is powerful to be able to do this," Reynolds said. "I think it says a lot about us as a city, a lot about us as an organization and I am proud and the teamwork there is so many people who helped."
In addition to contributions from Norton Healthcare, Thorntons also partnered with the Urban League for a not-for-profit storefront at the complex. Thorntons will front the bill for building the convenient store, and will operate it to give back to the West End.
Reynolds said the support has been overwhelming — so much so, that the center is already booked through March.
"There hasn't been any real significant investment that would bring disposable income into this part of the community, that would help with property values and all of those things, so [to] people who live here...I mean there is excitement," Reynolds said.