Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the city has climbed out of the recession. Gray offered an assessment of his first three years in office to Lexington Rotarians Thursday. The first term mayor admits job creation efforts never end. "Lexington has come out of the recession as a university city faster than other cities our size. Now, we have many challenges ahead of us. That's the nature of good management," said Gray.
After years of planning, Lexington's best Thoroughbred jockey is being honored with a downtown art garden. One speaker at Monday's groundbreaking called the late Isaac Murphy the "Lebron James of his time."
Fayette County public safety agencies are tuning in to a new emergency radio network. The digital radio system allows for seamless communications among first responders and offers clear reception inside buildings county wide.
Lexington Police Lieutenant Scott Blakely says the central Kentucky community is home to a one and a half to two million dollar weekly drug habit. While heroin-related overdose deaths are on a decline, the narcotics officer says crack cocaine use is on an uptick. Blakely says cocaine and heroin sales take place all over Lexington. "It is available from downtown to Heartland, from downtown to Beaumont. With heroin, it was everywhere. It's not just centered to downtown and neither is the cocaine and it never has been in Lexington," said Blakely.
Lexington's mayor Friday issued an executive order that will reinstate a program allowing personal use of police cruisers. The action by Mayor Jim Gray comes after the police union suspended a vote on a proposed 50 dollar monthly fee for personal use of vehicles.
Lexington's police union has suspended a vote on a cruiser "take home" policy originally scheduled to continue through the weekend. The proposed policy calls for a monthly 50 dollar fee for officers who want to use their vehicles for personal reasons. The issue may not be resolved until collective bargaining negotiations resume in early 2015.
Lexington's Mayor and sheriff, some pastors, and community activists gathered in Duncan Park Thursday to call for "peace walks" to put an end to recent violence in the city.
Fatal shootings involving young people area causing increased concerns about gun-related violence. Council Member Chris Ford says police are reaching out to community members. "They're trying to build a bond with our community and I'm gonna ask our community to, in turn, work with our police department, work with our church leaders, work with our community organizations," said Ford
Lexington city leaders hope to bring new life to vacant residential structures. Chip Crawford with the Vacant Property Review Commission delivered a report to Urban County Council members Tuesday. Crawford says one recommendation calls for increasing property taxes for houses in persistent disrepair. "We sort of view this as the last step, this and eminent domain as the last potential step, we hope that we've been able to come up with incentives and other opportunities way before it gets to that one year to two year period of being vacant or blighted," said Crawford
Lexington police officers may be asked to pay a monthly fee to use their cruisers for personal reasons. The issue came before Tuesday’s meeting of the Urban County Council's Public Safety Committee. Mayoral Senior Advisor Scott Shapiro says the aim is to increase police presence throughout the community. He says officers would pay a fee of $50 per month for personal use of police vehicles. “That helps police officers convenience, but it certainly helps the city to have a greater police presence out driving around," said Shapiro.
Lexington city leaders are moving forward with a plan to help establish more affordable housing. The first units under a new program could be built next year.
Planning Commissioner Derek Paulsen brought an extensive report before council Tuesday. In it, he recommends spending two million dollars annually out of the city's housing fund for housing. Three million dollars is already set aside for housing.
A round table discussion Friday focused on ways to bolster a safer environment in Lexington neighborhoods. It was part of the Community Health Improvement Project coordinated by the Fayette County Health Department. Larry Johnson, with Lexington's Partners for Youth group, serves on the safe neighborhoods subcommittee. "Neighborhood watch is the citizenry, getting together keeping their eye on what's going on and reporting those and sharing what they can do. This is not just the citizenry," said Johnson.
Five weekend shootings in Lexington are prompting the mayor and his political challenger to comment on crime matters.
The five separate shootings last weekend resulted in two deaths and injuries to two others. Mayor Jim Gray met with key players in the local criminal justice community Wednesday. Gray says his role is to appoint responsible, competent law enforcement leaders, "The worse thing that anybody can do in a management role is to micro manage. Now, that said, I am here today and I am available anytime and will be engaged."
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has suspended the City’s efforts to reinvent Rupp Arena and build a new convention center. The city says it cancelled its plans because the University of Kentucky changed its mind about a new facility lease in 2018.
Lexington Council members are putting their stamp on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Urban County Council spent the better part of their day at city hall, considering and endorsing changes to Mayor Jim Gray's original proposal.
It's been a long time coming, but a start to the residential portion of a massive redevelopment project in downtown Lexington is visible. Federal, state, and local officials all hailed the community land trust's affordable housing initiative today.
Over the past decade, some public pools in Lexington have closed while others were converted to water park-like aquatic centers. Another option is under study now. City General Services Commissioner Geoff Reed says "splash pads" are getting some attention. "It's a concrete pad and water shoots out at various angles and people are really enjoying them in a lot of areas and several cities have gone to heavy use of splash pads. They can be small, they can be large. A lot of places have gone to them in lieu of maintaining pools," said Reed.
Members of Lexington's Council are looking to speed up the hiring process for jail security officers. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray proposes hiring eight officers this summer and seven more the first of 2015.
A letter from the University of Kentucky President to the Chair of the Lexington Center Corporation is causing new debate about Lexington's Rupp Arena project. Lexington Center Board Chair Brent Rice has been deeply involved in moving the Rupp/Convention Center project forward.
In the letter dated May 20th, UK President Eli Capilouto expresses significant concerns about how financing for the 350 million dollar project has been handled.
Lexington city officials are planning revisions to its leaf collection program this year. Members of a Council committee got an update last week.
Acting Public Works Commissioner Charlie Martin says snow events caused a disruption in the vacuum collection effort this past winter. "and this year, they didn't start 'til after Halloween, but by Christmas we had had several snows and you don't have time for leaf collection anymore because now you're dealing with snow and ice, so you have a very narrow window in which to operate," said Martin.