Is Louisville a 'Big City'

For those of us who have grown up in Louisville, it is hard to think of our hometown as a “big city.” Louisville has always been our secret treasure; a town filled with diversity, culture, and a close sense of community; a town where everyone somehow is linked to one another. Within the past several years, with the growth of Downtown Louisville and the reincarnation of many of Louisville’s neighborhoods, Louisville has quickly become a popular place and dare I say it...”big.” 

When I say “big” I'm not referring to the population or the number of high-rise buildings in our downtown area, but I'm basing my judgment on national popularity, corporate interest, and travel statistics. In the last year, Louisville has been recognized in several top rankings, being called things such as “The Most Livable City In America” by the U.S Conference of Mayors, “The Best Place to Retire” by U.S News and World Report, and my personal favorite, the “Manliest Town in America” by GQ Magazine. Louisville’s popularity in rankings and recognitions is at an all time high gaining interest from every angle including food, tourism, and community. Louisville’s well-rounded popularity is making it look like a big city to me.

Corporate interest in the city is also at an all time high. With the addition of the KFC Yum Center in 2010, corporations are finally looking at Louisville as a “big city.” When Anthropologie, a huge National chain, came to Oxmoor Mall in 2010, female shoppers were ecstatic. The retail excitement is buzzing again with the recent news of the trendy and affordable clothing chain H&M coming to Oxmoor Mall in the near future. To make room for the new H&M, Oxmoor Mall officials just announced they will be doing a complete overhaul of the mall’s mezzanine and food court as well. Not all the corporate retail chains to recently come to Louisville have been welcomed with as much excitement. Urban Outfitters moved in to the Highlands neighborhood in June of 2012 and was met with some major hostility from the community. The Highlands is a “shop local” kind of place and the big dogs that moved in seemed to urk everyone around them. The store is still open and doing very well, but it just goes to show, other might want Louisville to be big but Louisville just might want to stay small.

Louisville was named the “Top Travel Destination of 2013” by Lonely Planet. WIth the NuLu District producing amazing food from a variety of new restaurants and Downtown Louisville's paradox of immense history and brand new development, Louisville has never had so much to offer it’s visitors. The fact that we were named the number one top place to go makes us a “HUGE” city.

Louisville will always be a special town no matter how big it gets. The community is what makes Louisville a unique city and that will never change. I’m still not ready to call my hometown a “big city,” although I’m afraid we are on our way. I know I need to embrace it, but give me a little more time.

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