Sourced from Insider Louisville
In 2010, the area now known as SoBro (South of Broadway) suffered major flooding that flowed into buildings and devastated the Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch, a result of wastewater backup. That same year, the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District started its green infrastructure program to incentivize companies to make their properties more wastewater friendly, which helps the environment, eases stress on the sewer system and helps ease flooding downtown.
MSD has allocated about $12 million in incentives to date, representing a total of $25 million spent on green infrastructure projects by public and private money. It recently funded its 100th project, the new headquarters of Solid Light, an exhibit design and building firm at 800 S. Fifth St.
The building had been home to electrical supply company CED/E&H Electrical. It was an old warehouse with concrete around it, said Solid Light President and CEO Cynthia Torp.
Over the past year and a half, Solid Light has changed the property’s landscape from impermeable to nearly 100 percent permeable, Torp said, which allows the rainwater to be absorbed into the ground instead of sitting on top of concrete.
The total investment in the project was $521,000, of which MSD and the city of Louisville gave $121,000.
“I learned about the green incentives through the city, but also I met — almost immediately after I bought the building — with MSD to talk with them about trying to do something to green this space up because it was two acres of impermeable property,” Torp said.
The rainwater from the roof of the building was all going straight into the sewers.
“So I worked with MSD just to understand what they had to offer and what other places were doing,” she said.