Innovating with Grace Simrall; Waterfront Park Steps Ahead with Deborah Bilitski


The city’s longest-running and most interesting podcast is back with a show featuring two of the city’s most powerful women.

I caught Deborah Bilitski at a good time – as it was announced by Gov. Andy Beshear this week that $10 million is being budgeted toward the $50 million needed to expand the Park westward, in the space between 10th and 14th streets. She says the first clumps of dirt on the project will be turned in 2022, although the project will be well short of its fundraising goal. Bilitski first appeared on the show in July 2019, a short time after she took over from longtime director David Karem.

Although I’d never met Grace Simrall, I knew her name, but had no idea how big her job as the city’s Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology, which encompasses everything from crossing the Digital Divide to get Internet access to more people to making sure the traffic light timing is in sync. She met me at the Northfields Heine Bros., with a view of the new VA Hospital, finally under construction, in the background. We enjoyed an unusually warm day on the patio, the chill no problem for the native Chicagoan.

Everybody I know seems to have made it through Thanksgiving gathering without getting sick with COVID, so that’s one thing to be thankful for. I also froze away a night at Cardinal Stadium, where Coach Scott Satterfield lost not only the biggest game on his schedule in lopsided fashion, but the confidence of much of the fan base. Let’s give him one more year to turn things around. One of our favorite guests, Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, former director of Louisville Forward, announced that instead of running for Mayor she’s taken on a new job with an organization called Accelerator for America.

Also, there’s a new bar, Darling’s, on Bardstown Road, and a new restaurant, Backside on Whiskey Row, to replace the disaster that was The Hall on Washington. Next week, I’ll have an interview with Craig Greenberg, candidate for Mayor. 

Thanks to our sponsors:  Hectare’s CBD store in Nulu; Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill and eXp Realty.