NuLu business leaders impressed with $13M renovation proposal

May 08, 2014

By Bill Francis
Read article on WDRB Website

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- (WDRB) -- It has become one of Louisville's most popular neighborhoods, and major improvements are planned for East Market Street, better known today as NuLu.

It's great, but unfinished: That's what developer Gill Holland with the NuLu Business Association says about the neighborhood.

"A lot of people think NuLu is done and that we are such a great destination already, and I look around and I think NuLu is only 30 percent -- I think NuLu has only reached 30 percent of its potential."

Plans for a $13-million revamp have been underway since mid-2013.

The project, organizers say, will help make the east market district better for pedestrians -- while maintaining its history.

The plans are detailed, and include the widening of sidewalks, adding medians and a leisure bike path. They also want to add social hubs and spruce up the alleyways.

"Good shops, good places to eat," said Todd Rogers, who loves the area but says it could use a few improvements.

"They have done some decorative brickwork in other parts of town, that might be nice here," Rogers said.

He may soon see some that brickwork in NuLu.

Urban planner John Carman is leading a team of consultants to come up with ideas on how to improve NuLu.

"We are trying to re-create the feel of the historic brick that is in the alleys," Carman said.

Renderings show two blocks of East Market Street would have a median divider down the middle of the street to give it more of a boulevard feel.

There will also be room for outdoor artwork, bike lanes and bike stations.

Some of the proposed improvements are designed to make the area safer for pedestrians.

And that brickwork is likely to be seen in the area's alleys.

"The alleys will be another corridor for pedestrians and bikers," Carman said. "It also gives greater access to the businesses, the stores, and the restaurants."

"It's a place for people to gather, to walk, it will become another corridor for pedestrians or bikers," said Carman.

The project will start at the Nucleus building and extend about 11 blocks east to the Home of the Innocents.

Dozens of residents and business owners attended a public meeting Thursday night to learn more about the plans.

"I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw," said Jason Clark, who owns a business in the neighborhood. He was impressed with the proposed improvements.

"I like the bike lanes. I like the green spaces they're trying to create. I like the traffic mitigation they've considered. I think they've done a good job there."

But he does worry about vehicle access.

"Parking is definitely a concern of mine right now. If this is a successful venture, I think there will be a lot more foot traffic there so where people will put their cars when they're out and about in Nulu is an issue," Clark said.

But Clark says overall, the plan will benefit both businesses and residents in NuLu.

"Just the exposure, the traffic that comes through there now and the ability to promote my business and support my friends that own businesses in the area.

With $13 million now available, most of it state money, it looks like the project will move forward.

"We hope to start construction at the turn of the year," added Carman.

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