The future of the former People's Bank building located on Lexington's Harrodsburg Rd. is among the items up for debate in the city's budget. The mayor's financial plan includes $150,000 to help with the proposed move of the building, possibly to a site on High St. Planning Commissioner Derek Paulsen says once moved, the building could be used for community outreach. "A key thing for me was, are we just gonna move this and have it just be sitting there vacant?" said Paulsen.
Lexington city leaders are continuing efforts to boost ridership on Fayette County's mass transit system. New General Manager Carrie Butler says Lextran expects to welcome its five millionth customer next year. Butler addressed council last week. "We really would like to improve our travel time down some of the major corridors," said Butler. "That will allow us to operate our vehicles at the same level, but have them travel down the roadways faster."
Two multiple-inch snow events this past winter are causing Lexington city leaders to rethink snow removal strategies. The matter came before Council's Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee this week.
Public Works Commissioner David Holmes says, if Council members want to see more done in neighborhoods, there could be additional costs. "I think that's gonna depend on how deep into the neighborhoods the Council wants us to get and how quickly. We're working on the economics of that," said Holmes.
Lexington city leaders appear ready to move forward with plans to develop a linear park through the downtown area. Ideas for financing the $75 million Town Branch Commons project were discussed Tuesday at city hall. Council member Kevin Stinnett sees benefits to the plan, which includes water features and a bike-pedestrian trail. "I think this is one of those projects that comes along once in a lifetime for our city," Stinnett said. "It's transformational for our whole downtown and it will bring a new generation of people to downtown. It can be a destination."
Work is continuing on Lexington's $100 million Newtown Pike extension project. City leaders received an update last week on the traffic and neighborhood revitalization effort. Eventually, one portion of the road extension will lead into the entrance of the UK campus. Traffic engineer Andrew Grunwald says in time, the project will lessen congestion in the downtown area. "When you open up the entire project it reduces the through traffic, which has a significant impact," Grunwald said.
The city of Lexington is demanding Centre Point developers take necessary steps to fill in the large hole in the center of downtown. A written notice was delivered to the Webb Companies office Tuesday afternoon.
A group of Fayette County citizens has gotten a feel for the firefighter profession. Next week, 15 people will graduate from the Citizen's Fire Academy. Public Education Firefighter Kyle Branham says a number of tactical techniques are taught during the 11 week academy. "Engine operations where we get the flow hand lines and we also do ladder operations where they climb the ladder and flow water out the ladder and do search and rescue," said Branham.
Lexington city leaders are moving forward with plans to establish a downtown management district. Businesses and residents in the designated area would be facing additional taxation.
The idea of the management district is to bolster safety, cleanup, and landscaping efforts within the boundaries. Lexington Downtown Development Corporation President Drew Flemming is helping to lead the charge. "We'll have increased power washing, gum removal, graffiti removal, bottles and cans on a daily basis," said Flemming.
exington Park officials are working to form community partnerships to help with programming and facilities planning. The matter was discussed earlier this week during the city council's General Government and Social Services Committee meeting. Council member Amanda Mays-Bledsoe says park interests vary throughout Lexington. "Not every kid in certain neighborhoods need ballparks,” said Mays-Bledsoe. “They might need softball fields. They might need just green space for kickball or for Frisbee golf. So, I'm encouraging not just to improve what we already have."
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is proposing millions of dollars in new capital investments as part of his budget. The mayor's spending plan represents a three and a half percent increase over the current budget.
The newest member of Lexington's City Council is coming on board just in time to hear the mayor's budget address Tuesday.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has named James Brown to serve as council representative for the downtown first district. Brown says he brings level headed decision making to the council and a willingness to listen to other views. "When there's a call for leadership, I believe it's our responsibility to answer that call,” said Brown. “My network of friends, family and mentors have prepared me for the opportunity that I have today."
Officials at Lexington's historic Keeneland Racecourse are eager for the start of the spring meet, while also keeping an eye toward the fall. Post time for the first race of the three week event comes just after 1 pm Friday. Keeneland will also host the Breeders Cup Championships this October. Spokeswoman Amy Gregory says a new chalet will be in operation for the spring meet. "It's really a way that we can test run the facility,” said Gregory. “Give it a test, a trial run during the spring. Look at food operations, parking, layout inside the chalet."
Incoming Lexington Social Services Commissioner Chris Ford says the goal in his new position is to excel in existing programs, while further expanding in areas like drug abuse and violence intervention. Ford is giving up his seat on the Lexington Council to serve in the position.
A proposal to raise the minimum wage in Lexington got its first public hearing at city hall Tuesday afternoon. The plan would increase the city's minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over the next three years. When the committee hearing ended, 19 people testified. April Taylor is in favor of raising the minimum wage. "We can support the pursuit of profit at all costs, or we can chose to care about women, children, and families," said Taylor.
Although no dirt was shoveled, Lexington officials have staged a ground breaking for a new public safety operations center. The facility is being established in the former juvenile detention center on Cisco Road. The center will bring under one roof the divisions of Emergency Management, Enhanced 9-1-1, and LexCall. Efforts to build the public safety operations center have been several years in the making. In 2008, the project stalled with construction costs estimated at 39 million dollars. By rehabbing existing space, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says it amounts to 26 million dollars in
It was standing room only for a special ceremony Monday to recognize promotions within the Lexington police department. A long-time local religious leader offered some sentiments as the guest speaker.
Reverend Willis Polk says Lexington's police department features a 'good foundation' and 'good work performance standards.' Still, the Baptist preacher stressed the importance of having a heart, mind, and spirit for police work, and to do it with fairness and honesty.
Due to a reduction in demand, Lexington officials are implementing a winter waste collection schedule. For six weeks, yard waste will not be picked up during regular runs. The special winter schedule begins on February 9th and runs until March 20th. Lauren Monahan is with the city's Division of Waste Management. "It's really nice because it allows us to allocate our resources to enhance the trash and recycling collection, especially as the bad winter weather is ahead of us," said Monahan.
On-demand ride sharing companies operating in Kentucky now face statewide regulations.
The issue has been a prominent topic at Lexington city hall. Two ride sharing firms, Lyft and Uber have been offering pick up service to area citizens for months.
Urban County Council Member Peggy Henson says the state rules seem to cover the pressing issues. "The driver backgrounds, the drivers' insurance, the records of vehicle inspections. And it goes on and on and on," said Henson.
After weeks of little activity, crews began Monday building two big cranes at the Centre Point project site in downtown Lexington. Developer Dudley Webb says the cranes, one 260 feet tall, the other 300 feet, will be up for some time. "The big booms that swing are over the project site and they'll use those to load the concrete up into the site,” said Webb. “And those will be up through completion of the project."
For several weeks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon travel along a section of Lexington's New Circle Road is expected to be impacted by blasting operations. The weekday blasting will take place as part of a major reconstruction project for more than two miles between Versailles and Leestown Roads.
The distribution of the Lexington Herald Leader's Community News publication is being scrutinized by city leaders.
The city council could move to specify how the paper is delivered.
Community News is a supplemental newspaper delivered to residents who do not subscribe to the Herald Leader. Kif Skidmore represents the paper. "There is a first amendment right of free speech to distribute the publication such as the Community News as there is any kind of newspaper and even commercial publications," said Skidmore.
A ground breaking ceremony was held Tuesday for the new $26 million home of Lexington's mass transit system. The new building will house maintenance facilities as well as administration.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the new site is expected to greatly enhance efficiencies of the bus service. "We'll have seven bays here, where we had two before,” said Gray. “So there's a likelihood that the turn, the cycle turn on maintenance will be faster."
The 54,000 square foot complex will sit on property once used by General Electric for its glass plant.