The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service have awarded Louisville Metro Government $450,000 to stabilize the former Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a prominent place in the civil rights movement in Louisville.
Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Redevelopment Strategies will also invest $150,000 in the stabilization efforts of the church, located at 912 W. Chestnut St., on property owned by YMCA of Greater Louisville.
The federal grant and city funds will pay for a new roof for the rear of the building, wall stabilization, foundation and subfloor repairs, and mortar joints fixes.
“In its many years, Quinn Chapel has played a vital role to the Russell neighborhood and in the fight for civil rights in our city. The fight for equity and improved quality of life for all Louisville residents is a fight that goes on today,” Jeana Dunlap, director of the Office of Redevelopment Strategies, said in a news release. “The city and YMCA value its importance and want to preserve its legacy for future generations to come.”
The YMCA of Greater Louisville has already contributed $400,000 into Quinn Chapel’s rehabilitation, including a new roof, new support beams and brick repair. The property, however, has sat vacant.
“With the new interest and investment in west Louisville, it is appropriate that Quinn Chapel stand and represent the rich heritage of the community and serve as a gateway into the area’s renewed future,” Steve Tarver, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Louisville, said in the release.
Much of the Quinn Chapel’s original materials and craftsmanship have been maintained, including stained glass windows and decorative masonry. The church, which was built in 1884 and originally housed Chestnut Street Baptist Church, joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The church also was central to the civil rights movement in Louisville, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking there in April 1961, which spurred nightly marches.
Following the rehabilitation, the city and the YMCA of Greater Louisville will look for a redevelopment partner or partners. A spokesperson for the city said only that they will seek a use that fits the surrounding neighborhood, which also is undergoing a redevelopment.
Beecher Terrace public housing complex is being torn down and a mixed-use, mixed income development will be erected in its place; the project will cost $29.5 million. The city also has started a project called Reimagine 9th Street, which aims to provide better connectivity between downtown and West Louisville.
The property is located in the Russell neighborhood, which was recently named an Opportunity Zone. Investors can receive significant federal tax breaks and tax deferments by investing in development in Opportunity Zones.