Community Foundation Gifts Land in Smoketown to Two Local Nonprofits

The Community Foundation of Louisville announced it is gifting two acres of land at Preston and Finzer streets in the historic Smoketown neighborhood to two local nonprofits — Rebuilding Our Urban Neighborhood Dwellings (REBOUND, Inc.) and the Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE). The land, valued at nearly $1 million, was initially given to the Community Foundation in 2015 by Hillerich & Bradsby Co. to enhance the lives of Smoketown residents. It is the only post-Civil War neighborhood settled mainly by African Americans that remains in the city of Louisville.

Each organization will receive approximately one acre of land to be used independently. REBOUND will facilitate the creation of a Community Land Trust. LACE will work in conjunction with the Louisville Community Grocery (LCG) enterprise, to establish a cooperative grocery store on the property. Each project will work with members of the community to make decisions regarding their respective portion of the land and how it is used in their initiative.

“The Community Foundation of Louisville intentionally thought about what is going to help build generational wealth, and how the Foundation could use this land to help empower Smoketown residents to be decision-makers on how the land is best used for their futures,” says Ramona Dallum, Vice President, Equity & Impact for the Community Foundation of Louisville.

REBOUND’s goal is to hold and maintain the property until the Community Land Trust is established and then transfer the land to the Community Land Trust to make the decision on how their portion of the property will be used.

REBOUND, Inc. was founded in 1993 with a mission to revitalize neighborhoods in low-to-moderate income households and create vibrant, stable and inclusive communities for individuals and families seeking homeownership. Its efforts are focused on closing the racial wealth gap caused by economic inequalities.

Kevin Dunlap, Executive Director, REBOUND noted, “Historically community land trusts help to keep properties in a particular neighborhood affordable. With all of the growth in Smoketown, it is vitally important the people in the neighborhood have a say over what takes place with the land and its affordability in the long term.”

As part of its goal, LACE is seeking members/owners within the Smoketown community and beyond to support the cooperative grocery enterprise. Groundbreaking for the grocery project is expected by end of 2023.

LACE is a nonprofit developer committed to fostering an ecosystem of cooperative social enterprises built on racial and economic equity. “LACE helps launch cooperatives by supporting feasibility and business planning, connecting with communities and stakeholders, creating financial and governance models and assisting with capitalization strategies,” says LACE Co-Executive Director Tiffany Michelle Brown. “Our first major initiative is bringing the Louisville Community Grocery (LCG) vision to life in Smoketown.”

“This venture is building again on the unique role of a community foundation to bring together as many people as possible toward building a better piece of geography which they all call their home,” says Community Foundation of Louisville President & CEO, Ron Gallo.

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