Proposal for Downtown Historic District Takes First Steps

by Devin Katayama on July 28, 2011

The preservation group Neighborhood Planning and Preservation is now drafting boundaries it plans to propose as the new Downtown Preservation District.

NPP said the boundaries are fair, but there is some concern.

“I think the proposal for the downtown zone that was described is much, much, much too large,” said Councilman Tom Owen, whose district falls in the drafted boundaries.

Those boundaries are between Ninth Street and I-65 and Kentucky Street to the Ohio River, excluding the West Main District.

Owens supports a Downtown Preservation District but is concerned with the size of the proposal, he said.

“I don’t want the preservation community to bite off more than they can chew because there will be push back I can assure you,” said Owen.

NPP President Martina Kunneke says she’s not prepared to make any changes this early.

“I don’t want to start out with compromise. I’m not going to say compromise is impossible. Let’s just see how it develops,” she said.

Kunneke said she wants to expedite the approval process through the Metro Council and says NPP will start by gaining support from city lawmakers.

“Nothing is really impossible if the mayor and/or Metro Council put their weight behind it,” said Kunneke.

She said the next step will be to reach out to council members who may help to waive some of the administration cost and effort.

NPP has also reached out to other preservation groups in Louisville. Kunneke says some have expressed interest. While Preservation Louisville hasn’t announced its involvement with a Downtown Historic District, it has asked Metro government to have more dialog with the public and to conduct a public forum regarding past surveys of downtown preservation.

The Louisville Metro Landmarks Commission will make the final decision on whether to create a historic district.

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