Neighbors organize to have E. Loudon repair continued
“It looks like 1930 out there.”
This comment, tinged with frustration, came from a small business owner on E. Loudon Avenue. He’s right: E. Loudon from Shropshire Avenue to N. Limestone really does look that bad.
Unfortunately, it could be well after 2030 before the city undertakes the complete overhaul this section of E. Loudon desperately needs.
Concerned neighbors found this out at a March meeting convened by District 1 councilmember Andrea James. At that meeting, one city official informed area residents and business owners that it could be 40 years before this section of E. Loudon is renovated. To drive his point home (and maybe to protect himself from projectiles thrown by an angry audience), the official presented a tremendously large posterboard spreadsheet (in this reporter’s memory it was about the size of an office desk) showing just how far down the list the E. Loudon project was.
It didn’t take residents at the meeting long to do the math: they’d all be dead by the time the street was fixed. Needless to say, no one went home happy.
Nonetheless, a group of residents is organizing to try to spur the project along. They are looking to the hard-fought and successful campaign of their neighbors to the east: the Meadows-Loudon Neighborhood Association, which after 10 years got major renovations done on the segment of E. Loudon running from Winchester Road to Shropshire Avenue.
That project, led by Larry Hamilton (then-president of the Meadows-Loudon Neighborhood Association) and supported by many other residents, has drastically changed the face of the area. As Hamilton told the Herald-Leader in 2008: “It’s changing the perception, changing the image of this end of town. Before this road project, water was running down each side of the street, there were worn paths on each side of the street, and ruts in people’s driveways. It’s just a complete change…. This shows that, if people band together, we can achieve what we want.”
The rehabilitation of E. Loudon from Winchester to Shropshire included replacing sewers, resurfacing the road, adding streetlights, creating a bike lane, and other improvements. The project also extended to 10 side streets in the area.
So, E. Loudon looks great — until you hit Idlewild Court. And then, welcome to the 1930s.
The disrepair on this section of the street includes many eyesores and utility problems:
- Busted curbs on the median and along both sides of the street
- Utility strips that have been ground to dirt by on-street parking (Cars pull up on the utility strips to avoid being sideswiped by the many large commercial trucks that use E. Loudon as a through-street. Consequently, utility structures get broken, which is why it is against city ordinance to park on utility strips.)
- Lumpy earth on the medians and grass that is badly trimmed
- Newly-planted trees, some of which are already failing
- Large ruts in the medians where, according to street residents, city waste management trucks jump the median in order to get through and avoid hitting cars
Finally, this reporter also noted lots of debris and litter along the street and in the median. (Come on, people. Stop trashing your neighborhood.)
Inspired by the Meadows-Loudon Neighborhood Association’s mere 10-year saga (mere when compared the city’s projected 40 year timeline), residents have begun organizing to try to push E. Loudon closer to the top of the city’s list for repair. To show their absolute commitment to the task, many have refused to die until they see the rest of E. Loudon transformed into a beautiful street. City government, here they come…
If you are interested in helping work on the “Finish Loudon Avenue!” campaign, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get more information at the next Castlewood Neighborhood Association meeting, Thursday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church.