Last week, thousands of Lexingtonians gathered in tables all across town to learn from each other, build community, and make their voice heard in local government. Additionally (per, “all participants will complete a survey about how Lexington is growing and changing. This data will be used to shape Lexington’s map for the future through the Comprehensive Plan, the city of Lexington’s most important planning document.”

We took the opportunity to host an OTTLex roundtable discussion at Mirror Twin Brewing on National Avenue on Monday, April 11 to discuss important topics regarding the future of Lexington, but through an environmental lens. Our staff met with a variety of community members and got some great conversations started. Here are the takeaways from those discussions:

Question 1 – How do you want Lexington to change over the next 20 years?

  • Decrease smoking rate/tobacco trash
  • More receptacles for all litter
  • Promote use of pocket and car ashtrays
  • Focus litter prevention and recycling education to off campus housing
  • Add environmental education to schools
  • More options for recycling (i.e. increase what is able to be recycled)
  • Large scale community composting, ideally curbside
  • Plastic bag ban and/or fee for bags at stores
  • Exploration of more energy options with availability to all areas of Lexington
  • Exploration of underground power line infrastructure/development to improve the canopy cover of Lexington above ground

Question 2: Think about our neighborhoods regarding housing, schools, amenities, and safety. How would you like to see them improve?

  • Replace all Bradford Pears
  • More street trees
  • Stop cutting of trees for utility lines – bury lines everywhere possible
  • Help with tree pruning
  • Increase walkability in neighborhoods
  • There seem to be the right amount of parks
  • We like the intentional no-mow zones
  • Continue help low income residents have access to environmental education and arts
  • Smaller high schools/schools in general
  • Better bridging and connectivity between inner city and outlying communities with expanded development of the Legacy Trail and adjoining trails
  • More education opportunities outside the classroom
  • Need for more affordable housing
  • Developing more access to food/resources in current community ‘deserts’ without gentrifying neighborhoods

Question 3: What do you think should be done to protect the environment in Lexington?

  • Household composting picked up at curbside
  • Provide an incentive to compost
  • Funding for homeowners to do environmental projects
  • Plant more pollinator gardens
  • Sell native plants at more commercial stores
  • More pervious parking
  • Energy efficiency programs and for middle/low income residents

Question 4: How can Lexington make it easier for everyone to financially succeed?

  • Rent is too expensive/need for more affordable housing
  • Do less desirable neighborhoods mean less trees? Would planting trees help low income neighborhoods?
  • Areas with large rental populations don’t have as much money spent on landscaping – financial incentives to change that?
  • Make sure parents are aware of opportunities for special schools and continuing education
  • Sense of place education is needed
  • Free early childhood education
  • Work on promoting and growing green jobs (i.e. solar, green infrastructure, etc.)
  • Access to more incentivized programs for participating in “green practices” in inner-city areas, not just high-income neighborhoods

Question 5: Transportation – what do you think would make it easier to get around our city?

  • Promote and expand Park and Rides
  • Encourage free bus passes through employers
  • Lexington has too much parking to make bus riding desirable for middle income residents
  • Bring back the downtown trolly
  • Light rail to connect Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati
  • Have smaller transportation options, maybe even registered pickups
  • Bike to church/bike to work days
  • More bike events
  • Investing in more Lextran service busses and expanding the public transportation routing further outside of the New Circle area

Question 6: Where and how do you think new growth should happen in Lexington?

  • Eventually expand Urban Services boundary
  • Make sure to have a well thought out plan
  • Continue public input regularly
  • Growing “up” vs. “out” by utilizing land and structures already established rather than continued developing on rural farmland or expanding the urban landscape further into natural land.

*Middle and bottom photos provided by Civic Lex.

Special thanks to all our attendees and we can’t wait to see what the future of Lexington and its environment holds!