LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson smiled as she cut a red ribbon in front of the new Village at West Jefferson. It was a moment she had worked toward for nearly a decade.
"You are welcome to be a part of this village," she said, minutes before, to a crowd of a couple hundred eager neighbors and friends. "To help build families so that they have a road to prosperity."
What You Need To Know
- Village at West Jefferson opened Friday in Louisville's Russell neighborhood
- The building took nearly a decade of planning and fundraising
- Each tenant business is intended to help surrounding neighborhoods across a range of services
Ferguson, senior pastor at St. Peter's United Church of Christ, spoke with a firm and exuberant tone as if she was giving one of her sermons. In a way, she was.
"This is an opportunity for us as a church, as a community leader, to welcome people home into this community so that they can begin to rebuild their lives," she said.
The 30,000 square foot, two-story building is the new home of 10 locally-run businesses, nonprofits, a crab restaurant, and a pre-school.
Located at the corner of South 12th Street and West Jefferson Street, the Village sits in the Russell neighborhood, west of the infamous 9th Street divide that decades ago left the area with limited resources to support a densely populated, overwhelmingly impoverished neighborhood.
Each tenant in the Village is intended to be a resource of and for west Louisvillians. Butch Mosby runs Sponsors 4 Success, which helps to crowdsource funding for kids who need to buy things like instruments, books or coaching to continue progressing their talents. The business mostly helps Louisville residents and it just moved into the Village.
"To see this happen and to see tenants actually desire and want to be over here is a breath of fresh air, and is really motivating for the community," Mosby said as he showed us around Sponsors' office, still in the process of furnishing the space.
From Sponsor 4 Success, to the tech incubator next door, to the pre-school, they share a similar goal: support the families of Russell and watch the support spread.