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“Livability” Report Presented to Shawnee, Portland Neighborhoods Tuesday

Louisville Metro Parks officials and community leaders from the Shawnee and Portland neighborhoods will present a report on the barriers to healthy living Tuesday evening.

The “livability” report was paid for by federal stimulus funds and is aimed at reducing obesity, largely by making the area more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Walkability is a good thing,” said Dre Dawson who served as a resident on the advisory committee.

Dawson, like others in the Shawnee and Portland neighborhoods, would like to see the waterfront open up. Part of this involves connecting the various parks in the area and making them more “active,” he said.

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In-Depth News Local News Next Louisville Politics

Effort Underway To Preserve Louisville’s Iconic Shotgun Houses

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Early next month, a panel of preservationists will select a house in Louisville to be rehabilitated under a new project called Preservation S.O.S.—Save Our Shotguns.

It’s a style of house that symbolizes many of Louisville’s older neighborhoods.

There are many variations, but shotgun houses typically have a long, rectangular floor plan: one room wide, three to five rooms in a row with doorways often on the same side of the house.

One common belief is that the name shotgun house refers to the ability to fire a shotgun cleanly from the front through the back door.

The shotgun style likely made its way into the U.S. from the West Indies and became popular in the South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, offering affordable housing in working class areas.

In Louisville, they’re a part of the fabric of neighborhoods like Germantown, Butchertown, Smoketown and Portland, but some are showing their age, and Portland in particular has a significant number of houses in distress (top two photos).

“In this area, you’re seeing a lot of blight when it comes to vacant properties, many of which are the shotgun houses, and I think that’s what inspired me to try to come forward and do something and start a program that would really make an impact,” said Marianne Zickhur, executive director of Preservation Louisville, which is spearheading the S.O.S. program. Zickhur grew up in the Portland neighborhood.

Zickhur and says shotguns are popular as starter homes for many young buyers. Others like how their simple design lends itself to fix-up and addition projects.

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Local News Next Louisville

New Sprayground Opens In Portland

Louisville’s tenth free sprayground was opened Wednesday by Mayor Jerry Abramson at LaPorte Park in the city’s Portland neighborhood.                  

Abramson says spraygrounds are more cost effective and cheaper to maintain than outdoor pools. 

 “We decided to begin investing and we’ve invested in spray parks at Iroquois Park out in south Louisville, at the Waterfront Park, obviously, over at the Louisville Zoo, we’ve got them over at Shelby Park, we’ve got them over at, as I say this is our tenth park so were very, very excited about it.   We have several more to go, we have five more spray parks it will total fifteen, five are still under construction, he said.”

 The aquatic play area at LaPorte Park replaces a pool that closed in 2007. Walking paths, benches, and handicapped-accessible walkways are other new additions to the park.

(Story by WFPL intern Andy Freudenberg;  photo courtesy of www.louisvilleky.gov)

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Local News

New Fire Station Opens In Portland

After discussions with residents of Louisville’s Portland neighborhood on where to build a new fire station, construction of the Engine 6 facility at 25th and Griffiths is complete.

The new Engine 6 is a few blocks south of the old one, which was built at the corner of 25th Street and Portland Avenue in 1903.

Replacing the smaller firehouse with a more modern facility is part of the Mayor’s 21st Century Fire Plan. But Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick says when it came time to build a new Rngine 6, there were concerns over where to put it.

“One of the things that I looked at was the fact that the way the road network is in the Portland area, we definitely needed to have a station in Portland just because of the time it takes to get to some of the addresses,” says Frederick.

Two more fire stations in other neighborhoods are set to open in the coming months.

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Local News

Portland Residents Tour New Firehouse

The Portland neighborhood in Louisville is about to get a new firehouse. Fire Chief Greg Frederick led residents this morning on a tour of the new facility.
He says the new firehouse will replace a station that is more than 100 years old.
“In the old station you had the workbenches, locker rooms, and everything was out on the apparatus bay,” says Frederick. “In the new house, everything’s in its place and it’s much more efficient.”

Frederick says the new firehouse features single dormitories for firefighters. He says the feature is crucial in new firehouses because of the changing demographics of the city’s fire department.

“We don’t know what the makeup of the department will be as far as male and female, so instead of going in and building a male dorm and a female dorm, we just went with individual dormitories…it eliminates that whole problem,” says Frederck.

The new firehouse also includes energy efficient appliances and a geothermal heating system.
Frederick says it should be operational in the next three to four weeks.
The new Portland firehouse is part of the city’s fire department modernization plan originally announced in 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

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Local News

Undecided Voters, Up to the Last Minute

Campaign signs are not as prevalent in the front yards of Louisville’s working class Portland neighborhood as they are in other areas of town.  But voters were trickling in steadily this morning.  Several said making up their minds about the presidential candidates was no easy task.  Long-time resident Frank Mattingly says he made his decision just a couple of days ago.

“I don’t know really what took me so long.  I was just studying it, studying who I was going to vote for, because we do need a change.  I think I voted for the right person, I’m not going to say who,” says Mattingly.

Mattingly says foreclosures in the housing market concerned him in this election, as well as the overall economy.  That echoes what most voters said when interviewed this morning, that the economy tops their list of concerns this election year.
Frank Mattingly is a long-time Portland neighborhood resident.

(Frank Mattingly voted at the Portland Community Center.)