Envisioning an economic renaissance in West Louisville, this Bingham Fellows project focuses on the built environment – the physical surroundings and infrastructure where people live, work and play. To that end, the Bingham Fellows are creating OneWest, a non-profit corporation that will establish new pathways to public and private capital – in Louisville Metro and beyond – in an effort to stimulate economic development and revitalization in an area key to the city’s overall success. OneWest will outlast political cycles through non-partisan, community-driven efforts, ultimately boosting economic vitality and citizen pride in West Louisville.
To set a firm foundation for the success of OneWest, seed funding has been acquired, the application for non-profit status has been submitted and an initial board of directors made up of community leaders has been formed. These community leaders – chosen for their ability to drive investment and create change – represent major corporations, financial institutions, faith-based groups, non-profit organizations and residents from neighborhood associations. Subject to board approval and input, OneWest has set the following short- and long-term objectives: Short-term goals include –
- Conducting a series of “community engagement tours” in West Louisville to solicit input for potential projects and to ensure that residents, businesses and other interested parties have a voice in efforts that impact their community
- Soliciting the services of a consulting firm to work with OneWest to help develop a strategic plan for West Louisville redevelopment.
- Selecting initial projects to support with a commitment to invest in, advocate for, and help execute them.
Long-term goals are items that will establish permanency and relevancy to the work of OneWest and include –
- Preparing and submitting an application for New Market Tax Credits – a business incentive – specifically targeting West Louisville, either on behalf of OneWest or jointly with another entity with previous New Market Tax Credit experience.
- Exploring the formation of a loan fund, which could generate loan fee revenue to the corporation and provide much-needed capital to West Louisville by side-stepping some of the underwriting hurdles that other lenders face.
- Building a team of qualified full-time staff who will manage and execute the OneWest mission.
These are ambitious goals, but the Bingham Fellows are committed to OneWest and to helping achieve the goal of reestablishing West Louisville as a thriving, prosperous, vibrant community.