UK law school graduate Sadiqa Reynolds is bringing about change in the West End Louisville community through the Louisville Urban League.
Prior to graduating from UK law school, Reynolds was the president of the Black Law Students Association. After graduating, she went on to be the first black woman to clerk for the Kentucky Supreme Court and a District Court Judge in Jefferson County. Reynolds was named the President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League in 2015 after leaving her post as Chief for Community Building in the mayoral office for the city of Louisville. Since being in her role as president, she has received numerous awards such as the Women of Power, presented by the National Urban League, along with the Person of the Year award presented by Louisville Magazine.
When coming into her position, Reynolds had development projects that she wanted incorporated into the Louisville community, one of them being built on the vacant lot of 30th street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
The 24-acre lot was contaminated due to housing a tobacco company. The lot was in the works of being a potential food port, but the plan had failed. Despite this, Reynolds did not stop there.
“We wanted to ensure that all of that community’s energy that had gone into preparing the community for this big thing to happen didn’t go to waste,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds proposed to build an indoor sports and learning complex on the vacant lot with track as the primary focus. This wasn’t just something that Reynolds and the Louisville Urban League wanted to be built in the West End of Louisville; the community agreed, too.
“The community said they wanted a sports complex. Many members of the community were asked ‘What would you do if you had a magic wand and you could pick?’ and to name three things and many of the responses were sports complexes,” Reynolds said.
The new learning and sports complex will feature an outdoor field and an indoor track on a hydraulic floor that will be able to be covered up for other events to take place inside of the facility. One thing that Reynolds said the complex will focus on is STEAM activities for the youth.
“Track is a sport for all ages and with the implementation of this learning and sports complex it will be a great ‘equalizer,’ as participating in track you do not have to be wealthy to qualify to get the materials or equipment that you need in order to be great at this sport,” Reynolds said as some of the reasoning for this type of facility being built.
The complex will have an economic impact by bringing in an estimated 20 to 30 thousand people during the track and field season. The influx of people will have an impact on the rest of the community by bringing more opportunities to the West End of Louisville like jobs, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers. According to Reynolds, the vacant lot will also have leftover space for retail and hotels for future development.
“We have to make sure that people who have suffered through broken policies in this community don’t end up being pushed out due to gentrification or priced out as property values begin to increase,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds’ focus is to make sure members of the community are informed about the necessary changes so they can make the best move for themselves. For members who may be trying to do business, it’s not about “trying to make a dollar” but looking through an equity lens.
Money is a key issue for the complex as it is a $35 million project. But thanks to the city of Louisville, $10 million has been donated, with another $7 million coming from various sponsors and donors. This brings the complex about halfway to its financial goal.
This complex will be the only one of its kind in Louisville. Members of the Louisville community can expect construction to begin this year. For more information visit: https://sportsandlearningcomplex.org. To donate, contact the Louisville Urban League development office at (502) 585-4622.