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    This is why I believe in public works projects (Lexington Voices)

This is why I believe in public works projects (Lexington Voices)

When I moved to Houston in 1998 some forward thinking civic leaders were talking about developing a light rail system. Dallas had created a limited light rail system in the 1980’s and it was very successful, so civic leaders suggested that Houston could do the same. The original proposal was to create a light rail system that linked the expanding suburbs to the south and west with downtown.

There were many opponents who predictably said that the system would be too expensive and no one would ride it. One of the most vocal opponents was Republican Congressman Tom DeLay, who […]

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    UK and Lexington in Need of Marriage Counseling! (Lexington Voices)

UK and Lexington in Need of Marriage Counseling! (Lexington Voices)

There is no doubt in my mind that, for Lexington and our region, the most important relationship is that between UK and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG). As a former professor at UK and a long-time civic activist in Lexington, I have thought about town-gown relations for many years. While I served as Director of UK’s Gaines Center for the Humanities, the Center was able to organize several Lafayette Seminars on this topic, and Gaines has organized several more, including helping to bring to Lexington Omar Blaik, probably the greatest expert on this subject in the nation (below […]

Graham Pohl on the Rupp Redesign (Lexington Voices)

Site rendering courtesy of NBBJ + EOP + SCAPE

The plans released for the $310 million Rupp Arena makeover have people talking. There is excitement about the slick exterior reinvention and the world class interior makeover. There is skepticism about the workability of a convention center not connected to hotels, and about the financial feasibility of the whole project.

Mayor Jim Gray describes the project as a way for Lexington to leverage a major asset, helping to polish the city’s brand. Lexington is increasingly getting national recognition for high marks when assessed for quality of life. The Mayor asserts that this […]

Lean Urbanism and Gentrification (Lexington Voices)

The following is a guest, cross-post by Council Member Steve Kay.  This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story or official opinion from ProgressLex. ProgressLex invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Lexington through the IdeaPost Blog, an online town hall. See our guidelines for more information.

A recent article by Robert Steuteville raises significant questions about the ways we have come to think about revitalization of neighborhoods.  The article has direct relevance to Lexington, particularly the North Side.  While I do not agree with all the details in the article, and might quibble with some […]

Do Cities Have a Hierarchy of Needs?

There appears to be a growing consensus that future competition on the world stage will be driven more from the city level and less from a national level.  With world economies increasingly intertwined, the costs an of international confrontation can only increase, perhaps prohibitively, leaving cities an open field on which to jockey for prosperity and the talent that brings it.

So where does that leave Lexington?    It means, to prosper we must be able to effectively compete for talent and entrepreneurial skills with the likes of Madison, Wisconsin, Asheville, North Carolina and even Kuala Limper.   But how?

I think Maslow’s […]

The Webbs Disappoint, Again

Mayor Jim Gray has made the pursuit of good design a trademark of his administration, from his vision of a renovated Rupp Arena and its surrounding area, to the inspirational competition by five globally famous landscape architects to design the Town Branch Commons. He  has shown that good urban design pays economic dividends both by attracting a talented work force, and luring new businesses to move here.

CentrePointe stands as a key indicator of Lexington’s identity as a place that cares about good design. Indeed, Gray’s passion for creating a beautiful city, and his criticism of both the CentrePointe process […]

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    $3.75 Million in Pork Projects Isn’t a Smart Investment for Limited Resources

$3.75 Million in Pork Projects Isn’t a Smart Investment for Limited Resources

Tomorrow the Urban County Council is scheduled to make an important decision: will they vote to divvy up and spread like peanut butter a perceived surplus of taxpayer dollars–to the tune of a quarter million each–or will they take a step back to holistically consider the needs and priorities of the community?

Council members are themselves split about this obtuse and pork-centeric approach to pursuing the public interest as evident by the 8-6 vote back in August to put the issue on the Council’s agenda for this week.

We see two fundamental questions in play here:

Is there even a surplus to […]

A Tale of Many Viewpoints….

Last weekend, a letter to the editor appeared in the Herald-Leader from the perspective of a customer of the Lexington Farmer’s Market . As I’m fairly involved in the local food scene, and a self-professed advocate of Kentucky Farmers, this piece echoed a conversation I’ve had several times with friends over the past weeks. For many, the recent decision of the LFM to begin charging musicians to play at the Saturday Market seems like a black eye to their organization and a symbol that they’re out of touch with today’s Farmer’s Market patron who might be attracted mostly to […]

CentrePointe’s Ever Progressing Design… Is Regressing

The following is a guest post by Brad Newsome, a grad student and researcher at the University of Kentucky and an engaged citizen with a passion for design as both an economic driver and a source of hometown pride.

In 2008, we were introduced to the first glimpse of what would come of the Rosenburg block in downtown Lexington, albeit amidst a great deal of controversy. What we got was an ill-suited, uninspiring behemoth that was more in keeping with the Atlanta skyline than with the Bluegrass Region or the scale of Lexington. What followed was a slightly shorter, more […]

Kroger on Euclid – Lessons learned

Tom Eblen wrote an elegant article about the importance of doing urban infill correctly, focusing on Kroger’s efforts to make a great new store for their Euclid Avenue location. In a way I had a bird’s eye view of Kroger’s efforts, as I volunteered to help the company with design issues. I spent about 30 hours on the project, and I believe it may be the most important volunteer time I’ve ever spent. The experience provided important lessons that could help improve new developments in Lexington.

Some neighbors suspect that I was used by Kroger for their political ends. All I […]