(Editor’s note: Cheryl Boyd and Terry Boyd both contributed to this post.
Breaking news … the NBA has come to Louisville.
Not that NBA, but this might be a huge step forward toward creating a vital downtown.
East Market District Association has changed its name to NuLu Business Association effective immediately.
Along with the name change comes escalating strategic planning in a NuLu Strategic Plan 2012 that includes a new focus on increasing a close working relationship with Louisville Downtown Development Corp., a new stress on increasing residential development and continuing the $13 million beautification project.
In the pre-NuLu days, the conventional theory was, when you have enough people downtown, businesses will follow.
But the way it’s worked out is, on this four-block area, more than 25 retailers and restaurants have opened since 2007 on streets that used to be an urban dead zone. However, NuLu remains very much an area where the majority of people go home at night to the Highlands, Butchertown, Clifton, Crescent Hill and the great suburban beyond.
The question now is, “How does the NBA expand residential housing options in the district?”
All this and more was revealed Wednesday at the inaugural monthly NBA meeting.
In the hour-plus meeting, topics range from parking to coming streetscape improvements to a huge TARC announcement.
TARC received funding to replace some very old, high-mileage diesel trolleys with five all-electric trolleys. They are larger than the current trolleys and will be on the Main-Market circulation route. Also, TARC officials are looking to brand the trolleys. NBA President Gill Holland said some of the old trolleys are available for sale for as little as $2,500 if anyone is interested.
Trolleys aside, a major initiative of the renamed group and of NuLu Strategic Plan 2012 is to create an inviting residential environment with a mix of housing options in a section of town rich in restaurants, retailers, office building and art galleries.
The Strategic Plan includes:
• launching a “Live in NuLu” marketing campaign.
• working with Louisville Downtown Development Corp. “to identify and quantify housing needs and wants in NuLu.”
• developing a committee to provide assitance in developing residential within existing buildings.
• working with existing property managers and residential associations to fill vacancies.
• encourage civic participation by welcoming current and potential residents to the association.
In addition to creating a residential boom to equal the business boom, discussion centered on the planned $13 million Nucleus-NuLu Connectivity Project linking NuLu to the University of Louisville’s Nucleus Innovation Park research building at Market and Floyd.
The project will upgrade streetscapes five blocks from Nucleus at Floyd Street east along Market Street to the Home of the Innocents.
The goal is to physically blend the gap between Nucleus into the resurgent NuLu, which runs from Hancock east to Wenzel streets.
LDDC master plan highlights per Rebecca Matheny, LDDC deputy director.
• The RFP for the streetscape design is going out. State officials are going to review the plan as well to ensure federal funding keeps flowing. It will be a national search, but Matheny encouraged the NBA members to pass the RFP along to anyone who is a designer or urban planner. The RFP will be open for three to four weeks. It will take three to four weeks to chose firms. By the first of the year, the selected firm should begin on the design work, and LDDC officials are open to community input.
• Matheny talked about making side streets in NuLu two-way streets. It is a long process as there are pending lawsuits, and those have to be resolved before they can move forward, she said. Judge John Heyburn is ruling on those lawsuits, hopefully in a few weeks, according to Matheny.
• The current meters on East Market are scheduled to be replaced by solar meters but not sure if they will be changed as part of the streetscape project. They may replaced before the streetscape project begins.
• There are more trolleys to be scheduled on the route and circulating more regularly. Eventually all side streets will be two-way. Main Street is also scheduled to be two-way like Market. But again, it’s a long process with many attorneys involved. There is no timeline for the Main Street conversion to two-way.
• As part of the streetscape project, there is a desire for great public art, along with the sidewalks, lighting and alleys of the project. There is a tentative plan to implement an artist-in-residence program for curated art from Nucleus down to Baxter.
NBA President Holland said NuLu is working with Denver-based Living City Block to look at the deeper process of building the neighborhood. LCB is a non-profit initiative to create livable cities across the United States.
Two other neighborhoods have worked with LCB, Denver and New York City, Holland said. Because there are problems with the New York project due to Hurricane Sandy, NuLu could be the second neighborhood to work successfully with the LCB.
Finally, NBA members discussed enhancing the NuLu brand, public awareness and marketing events that are already successful: First Friday Trolley Hop, NuLuFest, Flea Off Market and Pop-up Fridays.
For NBA membership information, contact Cheryl at: [email protected]