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Park DuValle Revitalization

Overview

The goal of the Park DuValle Revitalization was to create a mixed income community of more than 1,000 new homes, townhouses and apartments.
 
 
Components of the Park DuValle Revitalization plan:

  • Urban design, based on the principles of New Urbanism, which creates a coherent, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with homes that are closely integrated with recreation, retail and civic spaces. Homes with yards and porches encourage a sense of community and responsibility. Neighborhood residents, no matter their income level, will have access to the goods and services that make a neighborhood attractive.

  • Increased homeownership opportunities for families of all income levels.

  • Community participation in goal setting and planning, as exemplified by the Empowerment Zone planning process and the Park DuValle Neighborhood Advisory Council (PDNAC).

  • A community building strategy that integrates social services targeted to the public housing population as well as to residents of the mixed-income neighborhood.

  • A partnership between the Louisville Metro Housing Authority (LMHA) and the City of Louisville in which public housing families are fully supported and complemented by City efforts to build a new neighborhood that appeals to those with housing choices.

  • A partnership between the Louisville Metro Housing Authority (LMHA) and private developers that maximizes the expertise and entrepreneurship of the private sector to produce and manage a quality product.

  • The effective leveraging of resources that combines federal funds with private debt and equity to make the neighborhood’s recovery feasible.

  • A collaboration with the Louisville Community Development Bank, to leverage innovative business incubation and entrepreneurship.

The Vision

The Park DuValle Revitalization Plan grew from Louisville’s Empowerment Zone Planning Process. The vision of the Empowerment Zone Community Board was “a return to neighborhoods...and a demise of the massive, concentrated public housing of the 1950s that have become warehouses for families entrapped in poverty.” Cotter and Lang residents and neighborhood residents had input into the plan through the Park DuValle Neighborhood Advisory Council (PDNAC) which was formed in June 1994.

The neighborhood is surrounded by stable neighborhoods with high levels of homeownership. The proximity of this deteriorated community to healthy, stable communities offers a unique opportunity. Park DuValle, one of Louisville’s inner city neighborhoods, has the potential for the realization of a successful neighborhood redevelopment plan. The goal of the plan is to increase the number of affordable housing units, continue to serve public housing eligible families while decreasing the concentration of families at the lowest levels of income and create a new mixed-income rental and homeownership community which will economically, physically, and socially integrate the new Park DuValle neighborhood with the surrounding communities. 

The Opportunity

In 1993, following its comprehensive plan for modernization, the Housing Authority of Louisville (HAL) began planning for the rehabilitation of Cotter Homes through its Comprehensive Grant program. As a result of several changes in the public housing program at the congressional and federal level, public housing authorities were given increased flexibility in the use of their capital grant funds, and for the first time, HUD became open to proposals to demolish public housing units as a means of addressing the revitalization needs of very distressed public housing projects on a national basis.

In the fall of 1994, HAL changed its planning process for Cotter Homes and commissioned consultants in real estate, community, and economic development to evaluate the potential for new market rate and affordable housing in the area presently occupied by not only the Cotter Homes site but also the adjacent Lang Homes development. The study was intended to provide input into the overall development planning process for the residential development envisioned for the Park DuValle neighborhood.

The underlying assumption to the market study was that Cotter and Lang Homes and other perceived negative elements of the neighborhood, would be significantly changed through the demolition of the existing housing developments and the subsequent redevelopment of the area into a high quality, economically integrated community. The study documented through both survey and focus group investigations that such a proposal could be a successful effort. 

The Funding

The revitalization was financed by public housing resources, investor capital from the sale of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds provided by the City of Louisville.

HAL was awarded $31.4 million in housing development funds for this project. In addition, in October, 1996, a $20 million HOPE VI grant was awarded to HAL by HUD, for use in the Park DuValle project. HAL also brought another $14.8 million of previously approved development funds and provided $9.0 million of comprehensive grant funds for demolition, resident relocation and site preparation costs. The City of Louisville committed to support the project with approximately $10.0 million in infrastructure improvements over the build-out of the plan. 

The Plan

The site master plan began with a survey of the current residents of Cotter and Lang Homes to obtain feedback on the shortcomings of their existing units and was further influenced by a subsequent market study. Residents expressed dissatisfaction with room sizes, the lack of dining areas, study spaces for children, front and back doors and definable exterior space.

With these comments in hand, the architects were charged with creating a community that did not look like “cookie cutter” apartments. Instead, their designs replicate the scale of the surrounding residential community resulting in a mixture of housing types - single-family homes, duplexes and small townhouse multi-family structures.

Master planning continued with not only public housing residents, but neighborhood service providers, retailers, police, clergy and others in an informal group called the Park DuValle Neighborhood Advisory Council (PDNAC).

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