Last Saturday, April 18th people from across Louisville gathered at 714 S. Clay Street to participate in the Steam Exchange event, Revitalizing Smoketown One Building at a Time. The event is part of Smoketown Rising Week of Service, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Smoketown neighborhood through gatherings and service events during the Mayor’s Give-a-day week of service. A complete list of events can be found at www.steamexchange.org.
714 Clay Street was once a notorious liquor store. It was shut down about a year ago, and has been sitting empty ever since. The Steam Exchange recently decided to lease the building as the physical space for Steam Exchange programming. The building will serve as a workshop space and community arts center as well as the physical space for the Louisville Tool Share (a collaborative initiative by the Steam Exchange, Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team and Louisville Metro Government)
Great headway was made during Saturday’s workday. On the inside of the building, an internal wall was removed to open up the space and the interior was gutted. Volunteers also cleaned up and mowed the surrounding lots and picked up trash on the entire block. A group of the Steam Exchange’s Youth Vision Committee members designed and began painting a mural over top one of the boarded up windows.
The day brought a total of 40 volunteers from both the Smoketown neighborhood and greater Louisville, including Mayor Greg Fischer, who boosted moral with boxes of donuts and jumped right into action picking up trash. The volunteers were eager to help and weren’t afraid to work hard and get dirty. A special thank you to IDEAS 40203 and Mayor Greg Fischer for the support, YouthBuild Louisville for lending us tools, and everyone who came out to help! We couldn’t make this happen without you!