Louisville is no doubt a rapidly growing city, and yes it really is slowly but surely getting better and better. From more incentives to spend time outside to the cultural boom of Bardstown Road and NuLu, the city has a lot going for it.
But not everything is perfect in this little town. There are a few things you should know before packing up your last box and settling into your new home. Here is a glance at Louisville once you take off the rose colored glasses.
1. The river needs to be cleaned up
— Cheli Cresswell (@chelicresswell) March 18, 2014
Like a lot of cities in the Midwest, Louisville has struggled with keeping its main body of water clean and safe. A quick tip off to just how dirty the Ohio river is the lack of water friendly sports along it. It’s pretty rare that you will see people out kayaking or getting into the river. While the river does have great bridges and walking areas near it, the river itself has a lot of environmental issues.
In fact, in 2016 the Ohio River was labeled the most polluted body of water in the entire country for the seventh year in a row. According to WLWT5 news, “23 million pounds of chemicals were dumped into the Ohio river by industries and businesses in 2013.”
The pollution of the Ohio River is hardly a new occurrence. Back in the 1830’s when Butchertown meat plants were at the height of activity, the factory would dump huge amounts of animal waste and factory pollution into the neighboring creeks which fed into the Ohio river.
2. The city has all of the best intentions, but…
The city of Louisville really does have all of the best intentions. There is no shortage of officials who will talk about better mass transit, cutting down on car commuting or even making the schools better. But what’s often missing is the action step.
It’s a well known fact that Louisville’s public transportation is pretty sub par. One of the biggest things that it’s missing is a light rail of some kind. Aaron Yarmuth, editor at LEO Louisville’s alt weekly, put Louisville’s struggle to bring a light rail to life well: “We wish we could be Portland. We like to think that we would like to do that, but then we just never do.”
One of the biggest issues is that city officials seem to use it as a talking point but are not willing to pull out the dollars to get it started. Instead a ton of money is being poured into redoing the convention center and building plenty of hotel rooms. Hopefully Louisville’s new guests enjoy car rentals and Lyft.
3. Environmental standards are sub par
— Courier Journal (@courierjournal) November 11, 2015
As we mentioned with the river, Louisville has a lot environmental issues that desperately need addressed. From falling air quality ratings to low water standards, the city has some serious ground to cover to make Louisville healthy and sustainable.
Kentucky as a state has huge issues with environmental standards related to the mining industry. Mining and coal production both have a massive impact on the area’s around Louisville, especially when it comes to air quality. Louisville city officials noted that in 2016 Louisville had some of the worst air quality, in terms of lung health, in the nation. In fact, the American Lung Association gave the city a failing grade for pollution.
The Courier Journal combed through the air quality data and found that “over three years from 2011 through 2013, the association also reported an increase in concentrations of the levels of tiny particles that can dangerously lodge deeply in the lungs, ranking the Louisville metro area from southern Indiana to Elizabethtown tenth worst in the United States for that kind of pollution.”