Here Today: The World Still Goes Around And Round Monday, Sep 16 2019 

Earlier this year, we set out to take a deep look at why Louisville’s West End is changing — and how. In this last episode of Here Today, we address the uncertainty that lies ahead, and how that could affect the people who live west of Ninth Street.

Throughout this series, we took you through the history of discriminatory public policies that led to those nine neighborhoods becoming predominantly African-American and low-income. We told you all about the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that could be coming, and explained why some people are excited while others are concerned.

We explored the story of Beecher Terrace, which will be reborn as a mixed-income housing development in the coming years. Then we took you deeper, literally, by talking to archaeologists who are discovering surprises left behind by some of Beecher’s original residents.

With gentrification on the horizon, we took a look at the issues and opportunities facing the people who live in west Louisville, whether they rent their homes or own them.

We asked Mayor Greg Fischer what his administration is doing to prevent displacement from the West End and learned he doesn’t have a specific plan in place.

And we discussed the importance of how we use language in talking about issues of race, gentrification and discrimination.

How west Louisville will change is not something we know yet. It’s something we can’t know. But change it will. We’ll be following the story.

Here Today is a listener-supported project. You make it possible for us to hold the people in power accountable for the promises they make. Click here to chip in:

Here Today: A Rose Is Still A Rose Friday, Aug 23 2019 

Just as we started working on Here Today, our colleagues on In Conversation, WFPL’s weekly talk show, did an episode about the investments coming to west Louisville.

After the show aired, the station got this email from a listener:

Please stop calling the West End “West Louisville!” There is another town, way down river from here, called West Louisville. Here in the Metro, we have the South End and the East End and the West End. Calling the latter by another town’s name further acts to make it “other” and not belonging to all of us in the South End, where I grew up, and the East End, where I now reside.

After some lively conversation, we decided that on Here Today, we would use both terms, “west Louisville” and “the West End,” interchangeably, but the conversation didn’t end there. We started asking folks we interviewed for the podcast which term they use, and why.

On this episode, you’ll hear some of those answers. And we’ll speak to a linguist who’s from Louisville, about how the language we use shapes the way we think and feel.

Here Today: Let Me Understand Your Plan Monday, Aug 12 2019 

After learning about all the ways revitalization could go wrong, we wanted to learn about the city’s plan for avoiding the pitfalls that have happened elsewhere.

Here’s a section of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s third inaugural speech, given in January of this year:

“[L]ook at what’s happening in west Louisville: Nearly a billion dollars of investment funding catalytic projects.

The expansion of Waterfront Park, the Louisville Urban League Sports and Learning Complex at 30th and Ali, the YMCA and the new Passport Headquarters at 18th and Broadway, and the Beecher Terrace and Russell revitalization.

For that work, we’re collaborating with the people of Russell, along with businesses, faith groups and other community partners to make sure we restore the great legacy of this neighborhood – once celebrated as the Harlem of the South – without displacing anyone who wants to remain there.”

That last bit of emphasis is ours. This week on the show, we sit down with the mayor to ask what plans are in place to prevent displacement and gentrification in the West End.

Listen to the show:

Here Today is a listener-supported project. You make it possible for us to hold the people in power accountable for the promises they make. Click here to chip in:

Here Today: The House I Live (I Bought It) Friday, Aug 2 2019 

Homeownership has been touted as “the American dream” for decades — and some advocates say it’s also the way to prevent gentrification in west Louisville. 

On this episode of Here Today, we take a look at homeownership in the West End, and whether owning your own home really leads to inter-generational wealth.

Listen to the episode:

New Program Is Targeting West Louisville Residents To Learn Software Development Thursday, Aug 1 2019 

A new program will pay Louisville residents to learn software development, and it could expand to teach more people next year.

The program, a partnership between local software development company Interapt and the University of Louisville, is called Louisville Skills. The program will select 25 people and pay them $100 a week as they’re trained on software development. Participants will also get financial literacy and life skills help through a partnership with the Louisville Urban League. It’s funded by a $325,000 Humana grant awarded earlier this year.

Interapt Training Program Manager Marnix Warren said managers will pick overlooked communities for the program in order to fill jobs and give people opportunities they might not usually have. For that reason, they’re giving priority to people living in west Louisville neighborhoods.

“We are a software development shop and the need that we identified was that we couldn’t find the talent,” Warren said. “These are great-paying jobs that don’t necessarily need a four-year degree. So if we can get them, in three months or four months, trained up, then we can get people in these high-moving careers.”

Warren said around 200 people have applied for the program so far, but this isn’t the first time Interapt has offered a program like this.

The company has offered other training programs in Louisville, Eastern Kentucky and Atlanta, and Warren said about 90 percent of people who were trained found work after their program. Avis Wooden graduated from the Atlanta program last year and found work as a software development apprentice for Interapt weeks after that. Wooden said the program gave her a chance to start a career.

“College isn’t for everybody. And I think even those people who [don’t] go want to go have a four-year-degree should have opportunities,” Wooden said. “This gives others a chance to, you know, make a career – do something they want.”

Warren said if the program is successful, Interapt may consider expanding it next year. Applications for the program close August 9. You can find that application at Interapt’s website here. The program starts September 30.

Disclosure: Interapt CEO Ankur Gopal is a member of the Louisville Public Media Board of Directors.

Here Today: It’s Hard Out Here For A Renter Friday, Jul 26 2019 

When you rent a place to live, you’re subject to the whims of your landlord. Whether you’ve lived in your place for a year or 10 years, if your landlord decides to sell, you could be forced out. 

The changes happening in west Louisville are affecting the people who live there, and most of them are renters. As property values rise in the West End and property owners consider selling, what does that mean for the renters there?

Here Today: Diggin’ On Beecher Terrace Tuesday, Jul 16 2019 

The site where Beecher Terrace was built has a story that’s much older than the housing complex itself. Louisville’s first black doctor had a home there with his family. The city’s first cemetery occupied what’s now Baxter Square Park.

Before we move on from Beecher Terrace, we spend some time this week learning more of that story.

Listen to the show:

Elizabeth Carrigan

Items found at Beecher Terrace are organized in boxes at Corn Island Archaeology in Jeffersontown.

Elizabeth Carrigan

Senior Archaeologist David Schatz (center) tells Laura Ellis (left) and Jonese Franklin (right) about some of the pieces found at the Beecher Terrace site.

Elizabeth Carrigan

Some of the many, many bottles found at the Beecher site.

Elizabeth Carrigan

Anne Bader, owner and principal of Corn Island Archaeology, shows were artifacts go to dry.

Elizabeth Carrigan

A closeup of some artifacts in the drying rack at Corn Island Archaeology in Jeffersontown.

More photos from the excavation of Beecher Terrace can be found here.