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    Since the early 1990s, a revolution has been slowly taking place in the formerly vibrant East Russell neighborhood. This community once shone as “Louisville’s Harlem,” but suffered a decline beginning in the 1950s as residents migrated to the east and south ends of the metro region. Unemployment, homelessness, and crime burdened the area, and investment was scare.

    Over the past two decades, however, thanks to the involvement of non-profit and business organizations dedicated to the revitalization of this historic neighborhood, that trend has been reversed. A combination of federal grants and matching donations from local outfits helped get the renewal of East Russell off the ground, but a great deal of work still needs to be done to push it to its true potential. Vital to this process is the involvement of passionate citizens, which is why the Telesis Corporation, Louisville Central Community Center, and City View Park are inviting all members of the Louisville community to the East Russell Charrette on May 11, 2012.

    A charrette is a creative collaboration of civilians, designers, and business professionals who assemble at a specific place and time to complete a development project. This Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., a number of specialists will be at the Louisville Central Community Center to take part in this special kind of “brainstorming session.” Marilyn Melkonion, President and Founder of the Telesis Corporation, Sam Watkins, President and CEO of Louisville Central Community Center, and UofL professor Dr. John Gilderbloom will be on location and eager to hear your suggestions for realizing the urbanist East Russell vision. Come prepared to discuss transformative ideas like converting abandoned buildings into attractive family homes, planting trees, creating bike lanes, and preserving historic sites. As local decision-makers and leaders, it is citizens’ duty to make real change happen in a neighborhood like East Russell, and this important charrette brings us all one step closer to making that goal a reality.

    The East Russell Charrette will be held this Friday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Louisville Central Community Center (1300 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard). Admission is free, and lunch will be provided by City Café. Those interested in attending must RSVP by Thursday, May 10, at noon, to Katherine Becker at, or over the phone at (502)-582-0024.

    ​Photo courtesy of Dr. John Gilderbloom.

    Karen Ellestad's picture

    About Karen Ellestad

    When I was seven and my brother was eight, we both wrote to 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' for a free t-shirt. Two weeks later his arrived in the mail, signed by Carmen Sandiego herself, accompanied by an autographed picture of the cast, an official membership to the 'Gumshoe Club,' and a Rockapella casette tape. I got a postcard.

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