On September 10th, the Courier-Journal reported that River Fields lawsuit could halt Ohio River Bridges Project. This should shock no one.
River Fields has successfully delayed the East End Bridge for decades. The organization's claims of "land conservation" and motto of "The river connects us all" appear to take a back seat to self-preservation. For the organization, the East End Bridge is personal. The board is stacked with landowners who live along River Road and the organization's Director of 24 years lives within half a mile of the alignment of the East End Bridge.
Preserving one's neighborhood ("backyard") is one thing, but River Fields has systematically used political, economic and social pressure to delay an important piece of transportation infrastructure that would benefit the entire region.
River Fields' destructive strategy started in 1994 when they began to promote a Downtown Bridge as an alternative. Now we know their suggestion - motivated by their opposition to the East End Bridge - would widen I-64 by 50% over Waterfront Park and construct a 23 Lane wide Spaghetti Junction. Furthermore, this strategy has cost Kentucky over $100 millions to date.
Mayor Abramson, the leadership of Downtown Development Corporation and the Courier-Journal's Editorial Board have all played a role in deceiving the public and/or delaying the East End Bridge.
Downtown Development Corporation (DDC) is a perfect example of how opposition to the East End Bridge has hurt Louisville's growth and development. The orgnaization was created 18 years ago during Mayor Abramson's first term. While the organization should be focused on investments in downtown's vibrancy and historic and cultural preservation, it continues to be used as a tool to stop the East End Bridge.
Currently, DDC is chaired by a past president of River Fields and the organization is a founding member of the Bridges Coalition, which like River Fields is pushing for a Downtown Bridge. And four years ago - when the organization was led by another individual with River Fields ties - it suppressed a white paper that like 8664, suggested that Louisville would benefit by replacing I-64 with an at-grade parkway. But the study was never released to the public.
It's time for Louisville to move forward and break free from these old obstructionist tactics that are having a detrimental impact on our future.