The Courier-Journal’s Marcus Green has a fantastic piece out today detailing the demographic trends in Metro Louisville suggested by the 2010 census. In the urban core, that trend is — to borrow a phrase from our former mayor — poorer, older and blacker than the city’s suburbs, which are actually growing robustly.
Only a handful of neighborhoods closer to downtown — like areas in the Central Business District and the Park DuValle redevelopment — grew as fast. Overall, the city’s western and downtown neighborhoods hemorrhaged residents, according to an analysis of Census data by The Courier-Journal.
The steepest population losses in the 2010 Census are in neighborhoods cleared out and leveled to make room for the expansion of the Louisville International Airport, as well as a tract where razing began on parts of the Iroquois Homes public housing complex west of the airport near Taylor Boulevard.
Those losses were the result of authorities moving residents, while demographers say tracts in western Louisville saw large declines due to people losing their homes and leaving and older residents not being replaced with younger generations.
Two of the areas with the biggest losses were at the edge of the Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods, where two tracts bounded by 24th, Market, 38th and Bank streets lost 1,100 people, or about 18 percent of the 2000 population.
In one of the tracts where boarded-up houses sit among tidy bungalows, 27 percent of all homes were vacant.
Council member Cheri Bryant Hamilton said the foreclosure crisis hit those neighborhoods especially hard. Not only are those homes now vacant, but as other properties become available, people are reluctant to move into a neighborhood with boarded-up and abandoned homes.
Portland resident and neighborhood association member Debra Mercer said she’s like to see Portland be restored to a “decent and stable neighborhood,” starting with vacant homes.
She and Hamilton cited efforts by Habitat for Humanity and the Louisville Urban League to improve homes in the neighborhood, along with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program using federal stimulus funds to improve and find buyers for empty houses.
Oh, and be sure to note mayoral spokesman Chris Poynter’s careful parsing of language with regards to development around the bucolic and relatively undeveloped Floyd’s Fork parkland area, which the administration hopes to develop “in a very environmentally sensitive but commercially and residentially viable way,” which, when translated, means something like “we’ll do our best to make sure the real estate development greedheads don’t do what they’ve already been doing in other parts of eastern Jefferson County, but we can’t rule out a strip mall here or a block of condos there.”