Three initiatives to move downtown forward now underway as result of Bingham Fellows Class of 2022, focused on “Moving Downtown Forward: Adapt & Reinvent”
Public launch of projects will be part of March 9th LeadingBetter Summit
After one year of deep exploration and creative problem-solving, the forty members of the Bingham Fellows Class of 2022 are launching three initiatives focused on the topic, “Moving Downtown Forward: Adapt & Reinvent.” Every year, the Leadership Louisville Center seeks to address the most pertinent issue facing our city through our Bingham Fellows program. The class of 2022 was posed with the opportunity to leverage the dramatic changes the city has faced to adapt and reinvent downtown. How do we use what the past two years have taught us, the gaps it has uncovered, and the changes it has caused to redefine what downtown can be and do for Louisville? How can we create a more vibrant, resilient, and equitable urban core?
The diverse class of Bingham Fellows came together to focus on the areas hard-hit by the pandemic, and work to create a more vibrant, resilient, and equitable urban core. These projects seek to spur downtown’s resurgence – not to the same downtown that we were pre-pandemic, but to a reimagined downtown that best serves today’s needs and desires in a more welcoming and inclusive way. They have accomplished the following:
- Turning spaces into places through strategic activation of underutilized sidewalks, plazas, and outdoor spaces (CitySpots)
- A guide for making our neighborhoods art and cultural destinations (LouMoment Maker)
- Jumpstarting economic value creation for small Black-owned merchants (MELANnaire Marketplace)
The Bingham Fellows Class of 2022 will present the projects in more detail, including why they were created and how they seek to create positive change on Thursday, March 9, from 4-5 p.m. This event will be hosted as part of the full day LeadingBetter Summit.
Event Details: BINGHAM FELLOWS CLASS OF 2022 – PROJECT LAUNCH
WHEN: Thursday, March 9, 2023 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET
WHERE: Hybrid event, hosted at the Kentucky Center or on Zoom
MORE ABOUT BINGHAM FELLOWS CLASS OF 2022- “Moving Downtown Forward: Adapt & Reinvent”:
DOWNTOWN IS LOUISVILLE’S HEART AND SOUL.
It’s the center of our business community and the fuel to our tourism engine. As our seat of government, it’s where big decisions are made, and where the community makes its voice heard. It’s where residents of all ages and diverse backgrounds make their home, and where many exercise their faith. It’s where the community celebrates, and where the world visits – through our arts and culture, our bourbon destinations, our culinary scene, and more.
Yet, the intense challenges of 2020 have left scars on our previously thriving downtown. Traditional office occupancy has declined as organizations look to new ways to work. While hotels, restaurants and attractions are rebounding, there’s no question that downtown’s usage patterns have changed – as have public perceptions of stability, viability, and safety.
The 2022 Bingham Fellows class is turning these challenges into opportunities, after more than a year of analysis and study, along with stakeholder input and engagement. Three initiatives are now moving forward to spur downtown’s resurgence – not to the same downtown that we were pre-pandemic, but to a reimagined downtown that best serves today’s needs and desires in a more welcoming and inclusive way:
Studies prove abundant benefits to physical, mental and environmental health – along with job fulfillment and creativity – when people connect in person, and in quality outdoor spaces. Yet the recent impact of pandemic and unrest have changed downtown’s use patterns and exposed voids on sidewalks, plazas and outdoor areas.
Enter CitySpots, a network of welcoming spaces and urban surprise where people meet, eat, play, or relax – rekindling vibrancy across downtown. Potential CitySpots sites along Main and Fifth streets are inventoried and catalogued, along with a roadmap for public-private partnerships to create them, under the umbrella of the Louisville Downtown Partnership. The initial “spot” will open in spring of 2023 on Fifth Street near Metro Hall.
Whether grabbing lunch under a colorful umbrella, catching up on emails in an Adirondack chair, or swaying away an afternoon in a tire swing, CitySpots will help downtown rediscover the art of hanging out. Learn more about CitySpots
Class members working on this initiative:
Brian Butler, Stites & Harbison PLLC; Carrie Butler, Transit Authority of River City | TARC; Nikki Carver, JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Hank Hillebrand, Poe Companies; Louis Johnson, Gresham Smith & Partners; Matt Kamer, BCH Agency; Fr. Frederick Klotter, Holy Spirit Church; Steven Kniffley Jr., Spalding University; Riggs Lewis, Norton Healthcare; Jeffrey O’Brien, Louisville Forward; Douglas Owen III, JLL; Brooke Pardue, Parks Alliance of Louisville; Chip Snyder, PNC Bank; and Robbie Tindall, Humana Inc.
LouMoment Maker allows Louisville residents, community, and small business owners; and art, entertainment, and cultural organizations to activate the public realm for community-focused purposes and commerce.
LouMoment Maker seeks to diffuse cultural richness throughout our Downtown, the heart of our city, the part of our community that is everyone’s community, by creating equitable opportunities that foster meaningful connections. Bringing artists and government together to elevate cultural surprises in the empty spaces and the eyesores of our Downtown that keep the spirit of Louisville alive, amplify voices and build a sense of shared pride in our city.
LouMoment Maker builds upon existing event guidelines from multiple agencies, consolidating into a single document written through the lens of the artist’s needs. Learn more about LouMoment Maker
Class members working on this initiative:
Christian Adelberg, Kentucky Performing Arts; Kristian Anderson, Louisville Visual Art Association; Yvonne Austin-Cornish, Louisville MSD; Callie Baumann, CVS; Megan Breier, Beam Suntory; Joe Franklin, Venture Connectors; Christopher Fuller, K. Norman Berry Associates Architects PLLC | KNBA; Jill Horn, Brown-Forman Corporation; MK Lindsey, Crawford Hoying; David Lopez, Teach for All; Ameerah Palacios, HDR Engineering; Larry Portaro, GE Appliances, a Haier company; Garth Williams, Derby City Gaming; and Nicole Yates, Passport Health Plan.
Louisville has a long, rich history of Black-owned business. The Walnut Street business district (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard) once was a vibrant and thriving business, social and cultural gathering place for Black Louisvillians. The area was a vital economic engine for the Black community during racial segregation from the 1920s to 1950s, until it was demolished during the period of urban renewal.
Structural and systemic racism has created barriers for Black-owned businesses ever since. Current statistics reveal that 23.4% of the Louisville Metro population is Black, yet only 2.4% of its businesses are Black-owned. The lack of Black-owned businesses in downtown has prevented the area from being viewed as representing the diverse needs and desires of the entire community.
The MELANnaire Marketplace, a Black- and woman-owned business, will support the growth and prosperity of Black merchants with a mission to jumpstart economic value creation for small Black-owned merchants who: 1) lack access to capital/funding to open their own brick-and-mortar shops, 2) need access to funds to support business operations and overhead costs, and 3) need mentorship and training in business ownership. The goal for the MELANnaire Marketplace is to create a long-term strategy for financial profit and stability – while providing quality downtown retail opportunities that are welcoming to all. Learn more about MELANnaire Marketplace
Class members working on this initiative:
Julie Benton, &well; Fr. Matthew Bradley, Christ Church Cathedral; Chris Coffman, Frost Brown Todd LLC; Prenashee Collins, TBAIN&Co.; LaVeda M. Gipson, PharmD, Aetna Better Health of Kentucky; Emily Liu, Louisville Metro Government; Ben Simmons, Schmidt Associates; Nachand Trabue, Bates Community Development Corporation; Sherri L. Wallace, Ph.D., University of Louisville; Chris Ward, DMLO CPAs; Kathy Washington, Simmons College of Kentucky; and Johanna Wheatley, Republic Bank.
BINGHAM FELLOWS CLASS OF 2022 STEERING COMMITTEE
Cleo Battle (BF ’20, LL ’15), President & CEO, Louisville Tourism
Andre Guess (LL ’98), President & CEO, Fund for the Arts
Rebecca Fleischaker (LL ’22, IL ’05, FL ’00), Executive Director, Louisville Downtown Partnership
Randy Frantz (BF ’20, LL ’19), Assistant Executive Director, TARC
Bill Schreck (LL ’20, FL ’90), Retired, Interim Director Louisville Downtown Partnership
Rep. Pam Stevenson, (BF ’14, LL ’13, FL’12), KY State Representative, District 43
Bill Weyland (BF ’20), Chief Strategic Officer, Weyland Ventures
ABOUT THE BINGHAM FELLOWS PROGRAM:
The Bingham Fellows program is the advanced leadership program of the Leadership Louisville Center. Created in 1988 through a $500,000 endowment from the Mary and Barry Bingham Sr. Fund, the Fellows are social entrepreneurs who have the imagination and talent needed to gather critical resources and create social change. Side by side with peers, participants work to develop dynamic and innovative solutions to our community’s most pressing challenges. The 2022 cohort is the 30th class, and the Bingham Fellows have had an impressive track record of providing community issues with visibility and momentum. The Fellows don’t ponder what might be. They roll up their sleeves, shine a spotlight on an issue, and put new ideas to work. Their recent impact includes projects such as the West Louisville community development organization OneWest, regular Café Louie conversations with elected officials at Louisville Free Public Library locations, a sustainable model for neighborhood ‘Little Free Libraries,’ and City Champs, a talent attraction and retention program now managed by Greater Louisville Inc. The impact of the Fellows goes back to the 1990s with the creation of The Housing Partnership, construction of the Presbyterian Community Center, growth of local farmers’ markets, and numerous other positive outcomes.
ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP LOUISVILLE CENTER
The Leadership Louisville Center is the region’s most valuable resource for leadership development and civic engagement. With a purpose to inspire and equip leaders to be better and do better, it has graduated over 15,000 through its programs since 1979. The Center is recognized as a national best practice and is known for its dynamic programming and strong community connections. Programming includes five social impact leadership programs (Leadership Louisville, Focus Louisville, Ignite Louisville, Bingham Fellows and Encore Louisville), the Alice Houston Women’s Leadership Program, leadership skills training courses presented through partner brand LeadingBetter™, and events designed to connect leaders and motivate positive change. Learn more at www.leadershiplouisville.org.
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