By Carolyn Tribble Greer  –  Digital editor, Louisville Business First

A prominent couple in Louisville’s business community has made a $500,000 pledge to the Louisville Urban League to support the sports complex planned for the West End.

Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds announced on Facebook that the pledge from Wade and Alice Houston is the first major gift for the $30 million project.

The Houstons are the owners of HJI Supply Chain Solutions, a Louisville company that offers order-fulfillment, supply-chain and warehousing services.

The indoor track and field facility is proposed on a 24-acre tract known as Heritage West at 30th Street and West Muhammad Ali Boulevard, in the Russell neighborhood.

In June, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer pledged $10 million toward the construction costs.

When the project was selected for the site a year ago, Reynolds said the Urban League would look to raise funds from corporate and philanthropic partners and through tax credits. She also said naming rights and sponsorships could provide additional revenue.

In a video messageAlice Houston said:

“We’re talking about building a world-class indoor track facility located in the West End of Louisville, Ky.

“What attracts me to this is it’s all about the kids, it’s all about the community, it’s all about the neighborhood. And, the business side of me says that this is about economic development. To me, this is one of the most important projects that I’ve seen in Louisville, and I’ve been a part of a lot of them.”

She compared the potential of the development with that of the KFC Yum Center.

“There will be such development that surrounds this facility in the next 10, 20 years. And to me, [if there’s] no Yum Center, [there’s] no Whiskey Row, no Omni. And that’s the way I feel about this. It is going to be tremendously important to the neighborhood, to the Russell area, to the West End, to Louisville. And it will put Louisville on the map in a different manner.”