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    Louisville Magazine turns 70 this month. As our staff anticipates that anniversary, and looks toward the future, we’re wondering: What conversations should Louisvillians have right now that could shape the city’s next 70 years? We sent an email to readers last month asking that question. Among the nearly 100 responses, climate change, gentrification, race relations, transit, infrastructure, education and health all came up the most. Here are some of the responses, edited for length and clarity.

     

    “Horse racing? Is it sustainable?”

     

    “How can we grow as a city without losing our authenticity and character?”

     

    “Stop busing students out of their neighborhoods and use the cost savings to improve public-school education so it’s comparable to private-school education. Put a stop to all the nickel-and-dime public efforts to help the homeless and instead request that donations be concentrated to build more low-barrier shelters staffed with professionals to help mentally ill people to become functional or get them into hospitals and off our streets and out of the homeless camps permanently.”

     

    “The city and state should be considering cannabis legalization, as the country is on the verge of this anyway, and failing to act in a resolute forward manner will lead to the state falling further behind both medically and economically. Also: how to get the city and its residents to take recycling seriously.”

     

    “Affordable housing? The $100,000 first-time homebuyer is gone.”

     

    “Get this city on par with Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati — cranes all over those cities and we can’t even get a Walmart or Topgolf.”

     

    “I would like more focus on nonprofits and volunteer opportunities.”

     

    “How do we support disconnected youth? How do we balance our city’s development with affordable housing and preserving neighborhoods? What does sustainable mass transit look like? How can we turn our city from a parking oasis into one that truly supports multi-modal transportation?”

     

    “Population density, kindness, mass transit, alternative energy solutions, fewer articles and activities related to alcohol and just less emphasis on alcohol. Also the beauty of our city — parks, architecture, artwork.”

     

    “Enlightened capitalism.”

     

    “Dismantling generations-old racist systems that lead to incredibly inequitable health outcomes for many Louisville citizens and stifle the ability for ALL Louisvillians to thrive.”

     

    “Term limits for elected officials, especially at the federal level.”

     

    “Is U of L acquiring too much land in the city and preventing growth of businesses in the area?”

     

    “The declining road infrastructure and pollution.”

     

    “The state government is holding Louisville back. How do we fix that?”

     

    “How can we better equip our city to deal with constant flooding and drainage issues? What can we do to help JCPS so that parents don’t feel the financial burden of having to send their children to private schools to get a great education?”

     

    “How we can reduce plastics and single-use items?”

     

    “Gentrification past Ninth Street. Will it happen and will it hurt or help the community?”

     

    “How to develop light-rail transportation to connect all areas of the city with points of interest in our park system, downtown, Highlands and southern Indiana.”

     

    “Welcoming immigrants, investing in the West End, the need for reform in the police department.”

     

    “Finding ways to help those afflicted with addiction. Rehabilitation of prisoners, not just housing them. Finding ways to improve our healthcare in Louisville and finding incentives to attract and train better physicians. Finding ways to improve the health of Louisvillians — obesity, smoking, alcohol and drug addiction, lack of care, lack of vaccinations, etc.”

     

    “Will bullying and suicide take over at earlier ages? Also, the laws regarding sex trafficking, animal abuse and child abuse — will we value life even less than what we do now? Will libraries become extinct?”

     

    “Green, green, green. Transportation. Power. Carbon neutrality. Adaptations to global warming. Do we think we will be exempt from effects of climate change because we aren’t on the coast? How will it affect us and what can we be doing to get ready? Anything that focuses on young people, the ones who will be living here over the next 70 years. A story on trends around 20-somethings — for example, less driving, later/smaller/if-any homebuying, gig-economy workers, etc. — and what those traits might mean for Louisville over a 70-year horizon.”

     

    “How do citizens wrest control from developers who are systematically overdeveloping both commercial and residential properties in locations where the surrounding infrastructure can’t support the additional load?”

     

    “Consideration for a pro basketball team. A continued focus on Kentucky Proud products, farm-to-table restaurants, funding local eateries to continue to promote Louisville as a ‘foodie town.’”

     

    “Over-incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline that starts with dramatically higher levels of school suspensions for African-American kids. The lower high school and college graduation rates, lower employment, therefore fewer options and more desperation. An approach to crime that creates and supports a cash bail system that is reminiscent of debtors prisons of yore.”

     

    “How to save more neighborhood housing, versus building apartments.”

     

    “Conversations about how Louisville isn’t just Louisville anymore — it’s Louisville and Crestwood and La Grange and Pewee Valley and J-town and…”

     

    “We should explore opportunities in STEM careers to prepare for future jobs. For Louisville to thrive over the next 70 years, the city must branch out beyond the grip of wealthy families and aristocrats who have funded many organizations, and involve younger professionals in planning Louisville’s future.”

     

    “What would this city be like if we had light rail for transportation within our city? Could it help our less-advantaged citizens get to work? Could two-car families go to one-car?”

     

    “Railway transportation within the city. It runs clean. I am tired of hearing politicians say Americans love their cars. We don’t. We just don’t have alternatives.”

     

    “Race relations.”

     

    “One focus should be the Ohio River, with the emphasis on: further cleaning up its waters and the tributaries that feed it; developing better recreational access and providing better opportunities to enjoy it; developing programs to facilitate interaction with the river, especially in our minority communities.”

     

    “Why are the roads in Louisville so bad and why do I never see anybody in our bike lanes?”

     

    “Veterans, and entrepreneurial activities.”

     

    “Why don’t we really ever invest the money truly needed to make education effective for everyone? Is the bourbon boom sustainable? How will technology and robotic influences change human relationships, or will they? Can we end our reliance on fossil fuels, plastic and toxic chemicals and find creative, natural solutions that are in harmony with our environment?”

     

    “International opportunities to help our students be ready to be global citizens and attract global industry to Louisville. More primary-care physicians.”

     

    “We can’t forget our elders, many of whom are living lives of isolation. They may be an untapped resource — a source of wisdom.”

     

    We want to hear from you. What conversations do you think Louisvillians should be having right now that could shape the city's next 70 years? Send your responses to editorial@loumag.com.

     

    This originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover photo by BooblGum // stock.adobe.com

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