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Kevin Kouba, Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce

Kevin Kouba is president of the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce.

A resident of Old Louisville for almost 20 years, he is the owner of Bearwood Gardens, a landscape design, installation, and maintenance business that specializes in Victorian and cottage gardens. He was a board member for several years before becoming president in the spring of 2007.

Kouba is a Missouri native who came to Louisville to attend seminary and work in ecumenical and interfaith relations at the Presbyterian offices downtown. His other past jobs include antiques dealer, restaurant operator, real estate salesman, and church musician. He is the director of music at Briargate Presbyterian Church in Louisville.

In his position with the Chamber of Commerce, Kouba works to promote tourism and preservation in a historic area boasting one of the country’s largest collections of elegant Victorian mansions and a flavor and culture all its own. The Old Louisville National Preservation District offers grand homes in the architectural styles of centuries past along miles of tree-lined streets and courts.

The mission of the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce is to develop Old Louisville into a vibrant historic neighborhood by

  • increasing membership.
  • working with other organizations to promote business opportunities in Old Louisville.
  • promoting tourism in Old Louisville.
  • developing a business community that caters to the tourist trade while serving the community.
  • enhancing the business image of Old Louisville.
  • improving and facilitating communications between chamber members, neighborhood associations, and the Neighborhood Council.
  • improving and facilitating communications with other business associations for mutual interests.
  • creating and maintaining a mechanism for assisting in the development and renovation of commercial properties in Old Louisville.
  • creating and maintaining a mechanism for recruiting appropriate businesses to locate in Old Louisville.

Old Louisville is also the location of the renowned annual St. James Court Art Show, a juried fine arts and fine crafts show produced by a consortium of five nonprofit neighborhood associations—Belgravia Court, South 3rd Street, 1300 South Third Street, St. James Court, and South Fourth Street—and the West End Baptist Church. Held the first full weekend of October, it hosts an impressive 650+ artists from all over the Americas. A Louisville Life story on the St. James Court Art Show is also available online.

The historic neighborhood also stars in the new documentary Victorian Mansions of Old Louisville, produced by Michael Breeding of Michael Breeding Media. Crafted from hundreds of hours of filming, the video is narrated by Peter Thomas, an Academy Award-winning narrator often heard on Nova. The filmmakers are working on distributing the documentary to PBS stations nationwide.

If you want to learn more about the beauty, history, and culture of Old Louisville, a good first stop is the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, 218 W. Oak St., Louisville, KY 40203, (502) 637-2922.

Program 201
Newly retired Brown-Forman executive Owsley Brown II, YouthBuild Louisville, The Kentucky Center Governor's School for the Arts, the history of Louisville's Southern Expo, and an interview with Kevin Kouba, president of Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce. (#201)