Two years after being named the first woman to head the Louisville Urban League, Sadiqa Reynolds spends her days helping people in the West End, seeking solutions so residents can get jobs, transportation, nutrition, and health care.
And she’s working on bigger projects as well. In September, the Louisville Urban League, along with Metro Louisville, announced a $30 million project to bring an athletic facility to 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
“We need something in West Louisville that brings people from outside. We can’t just have a Starbucks or a movie theater or yet another business that comes in and closes at 5 p.m.,” she told Insider Louisville. “We need something that brings people into the community with disposable income.”
Reynolds helped broker an agreement with Metro Louisville government and her old boss, Mayor Greg Fischer, that is expected to bring dozens of events and thousands of visitors to the site. She believes the facility will also attract retail, restaurants, and housing.
“I think West Louisville is a treasure that people haven’t quite tapped into,” she says. “I hope that before everybody else moves into West Louisville, I hope the people there will reap the rewards of being so patient.”
The proposed facility, which could open by 2019, would join the YMCA, Passport Health Plan, and the redevelopment of the Beecher Terrace housing complex to transform the West End, Reynolds believes.
“The West End will be transformed in the next five to 10 years,” she says. “The people here are smart, talented, hardworking, forgiving, underrepresented, underserved and grateful. … I don’t know of a community that deserves it more.”
Reynolds came to the Louisville Urban League after serving as Chief of Community Building for Metro Louisville. Previously, she was a Jefferson County District Court Judge, inspector general for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services, and chief of staff for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness.
“This is absolutely my dream job, and I feel very fortunate to be here,” she says. “This is the kind of work I would do if I won the lottery tomorrow. I’ve had all kinds of great gigs, but this is the one to die for.”
The Louisville Urban League works with more than 1,000 West Louisville residents annually, assisting them in the areas of employment, justice, education, health, and housing.