Story: Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Complex

The Sponsor

The Louisville Urban League (LUL) is a nonprofit organization that works to address racism and its adverse impacts on the community, helping people of color attain social and economic equality. It serves approximately 16,000 people annually with workforce development, housing services, youth development and education.

The Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Complex is a new 137,000-square-foot facility that includes indoor and outdoor tracks with playing fields, and with space that can be adapted for community events, concerts, or other gatherings. The facility includes a bowling alley, restaurant and climbing wall, and onsite community services range from test prep classes to chess competitions, as well as world class track and field events.

The Project

The Louisville Urban League used both federal and state New Markets Tax Credits to redevelop a blighted site in the city’s Russell neighborhood into a multi-use facility to house sports, community events, retail, and local services offerings. LISC tapped its $3.29 million NMTC allocation from the state of Kentucky to support the capital stack, as did two other state allocatees, NDC and Lower Brule. US Bank is the investor for the state portion of the financing. Federal NMTC allocations from the Reinvestment Fund, NDC, and Telesis also supported the more than $42 million project, with PNC as the investor. LISC’s capital is helping finance remediation of the site as well as site improvements and construction, including helping reimburses LUL for development costs already incurred.

Impact Statistics

  • $3.29m Broadstreet NMTC Allocation
  • 11 Permanent Jobs Created
  • 13,250 Low-Income Persons Served Annually

The Impact

This project is central to the revitalization of Louisville’s west end, which is in turn the most critical neighborhood development priority for the City of Louisville. The new facility is designed to serve a disinvested part of Louisville’s West Side that had previously been designated as a HOPE VI redevelopment area and part of the federal Choice Neighborhood Initiative. Nearby residents earn just 45 percent of the area median income, and unemployment tops 21 percent. The constructed period ended January 2021, with 48.7 percent of the construction work performed by Minority/Women Business Enterprises or Minority/Women workers.

Since the complex opened in February 2021, it has brought athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans from 16 foreign countries, nearly all 50 U.S. states, 80 of Kentucky’s 120 counties and every zip code in the MSA. The facility has elevated the sport of track and field -one that, compared to all other major sports, produces athletes with the highest grades, lowest truancy, and highest likelihood of attending college. Westside Track Club has experienced firsthand the impact of such a phenomenal facility with 150% growth in the program since the venue opened. A record-high 54 Black student athletes qualified for the Junior Olympics summer 2021.

In 2021, the facility hosted a Blood Drive, Bone Marrow Match event, and sickle cell disease education fair. The press coverage from the event led to a prominent judge in the community receiving a life-saving bone marrow match.

The new recreational facility has created 11 permanent jobs and 145 full-time positions connected to events. It also allows LUL to expand its reach, with expectations that it would serve more than 18,000 people at the facility, while improving health, economic and educational outcomes for residents.