This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Clarksdale Housing Complex was a public housing project built in 1939. Clarksdale was occupied from 1939 - late 2004. It was the first public housing complex built in the city and up until its demolition, completed in 2005, it was the largest public housing project in the state of Kentucky. It consisted of 58 two and three-story buildings. Like most public housing complexes, Clarksdale was initially built to support veterans and their families after World War II. Clarksdale was originally built for and occupied by whites tenants, while Beecher Terrace, built several years afterward, was designed for blacks. However, entering into the mid 1960s Clarksdale's population slowly became predominantly black around the same time white flight began in the West End of Louisville. Until its demise, Clarksdale was one of many developments overseen by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority which primarily served as housing for single-family units with low income.
Clarksdale's location was bounded by Jefferson Street to the North, Jackson Street on the West, Muhammad Ali Boulevard to the South, and Shelby Street to the East. It was located adjacent to its sister complex Dosker Manor, which initially served as a complex for the elderly and is still standing today. St. Boniface Catholic Church, which also still stands today, was positioned within the boundaries of the complex on East Liberty Street. Both Clarksdale, and Dosker Manor's location, also mark the eastern boundary line of downtown into what is known as the Phoenix Hill neighborhood of Louisville. The northern end of Phoenix Hill especially along East Market and Jefferson Street's has been gentrified into what developers have deemed as "NuLu"(short for New Louisville), although the correct name for the area geographically is Phoenix Hill and East Market District.
As with most housing projects throughout the country, Clarksdale's age and maintenance were insufficient for such a large complex designed for single-family and low income households. Clarksdale in its prime, was one of the most notorious and crime-ridden housing projects within the city with high drug activity, murder, and gang activity prevalent.
The 65-year-old complex was completely demolished in 2005, as part of the city's plan to redevelop housing in the downtown area due to Louisville's rapid economic growth within the downtown business district. The Clarksdale complex was the second public housing site in Louisville to undergo this gentrification process, after the Cotter/Lang Homes revitalization into what is now known as The Villages of Park Duvalle. This redevelopment plan was part of the Hope VI program responsible for the same revitalization of Chicago's Plan for Transformation with the demolition of housing projects and other major cities throughout the United States. East Louisville Park and two local liquor/grocery stores were also demolished in the process.
Tenants from Clarksdale were forced to relocate to other areas and other housing projects throughout the city, which often brought tension and issues with original residents from those particular areas. The newly redeveloped area which is the prior site of Clarksdale is now known as Liberty Green, named after Liberty Street, which ran directly through the middle of the complex West to East. The name Liberty Green also stems from the area in the late 19th century, being rich with green fields. Liberty Green is nearing completion. However, building has haulted on the eastern edge of the complex and only vacant lots sit east of Clay Street to Shelby with the exception of one row of housing facing Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Prior to the demolition, many tenants argued that due to Clarksdale's close proximity to Downtown Louisville, that location became the prime factor of the revitalization more so than crime, which was proposed as one of the main purposes for the demolition. Many tenants who opposed the demolition, have argued that with the growth, expansion, and development of downtown attractions such as Fourth Street Live!, an abundance of newly developed luxury apartments and condos, KFC Yum! Center, and Louisville Waterfront Park; that having Clarksdale in the immediate area would cause concerns with property and retail value for such attractions, therefore raised questions on the true intent of demolition proposal as a whole. The area has since been highly gentrified. Ironically, since the demise of Clarksdale and other housing projects in the city from these redevelopment plans, Louisville's crime and murder rate has now risen to an all time high as a whole and in other parts of the city particularly the West End which were previously high already. Crime has also risen into areas of the city in which crime was almost non existent before, particularly certain areas of the South End and smaller areas within the East End.
Today, local TV-repair shop and family owned business, Clarksdale TV, located nearby on South Shelby Street and Broadway along with a one-block alley between South Campbell and South Wenzel Streets near East Madison in Phoenix Hill, are the only remnants bearing the Clarksdale name within the city of Louisville.