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Mayor Gorton breaks ground on new affordable housing project in Lexington

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Mar 18, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Mayor Linda Gorton didn’t walk into city hall and start blowing things up soon after being sworn in. The mayor waited until Friday to blow something up.

“I had never done that before! But it’s for such a great cause,” she said.

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On Friday, Mayor Gorton joined in on the ceremonial groundbreaking. She lit the fuse to blast some landmass away as work begins on the 252 unit Kearney Ridge Apartment complex off Georgetown Road.

“I was Vice Mayor when we formed the (affordable housing) fund, and we had aspirations and the goal of helping build affordable housing,” she explained of the city’s initiative. The plan dates back to 2014 and has helped create just under 3,000 affordable housing units across the city.

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But with our population growth, pandemic-related economic issues still in place even if mask mandates are not, and the fact that we’re surrounded by farmland, the need for more affordable housing in Lexington is prevalent.

“We have an urban service boundary,” said Councilman Josh McCurn. “We are a unique city in that sense, but we have an opportunity with our urban service boundary to preserve our farms, but at the same time, it does constrain us some in that urban service boundary,” McCurn continued.

The land at this location isn’t farmland. The developer of this project, AU Associates, has already built one affordable housing unit with a senior living facility across the street.

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Rent prices have gone up in recent years, wages haven’t necessarily followed that same trajectory, and now, we’re dealing with inflation. And as the mayor noted, the city can’t regulate what a landlord can charge for monthly rent. It’s another reason why these types of projects are so important.

“This is a great way through our affordable housing projects because that’s a direct impact on what people will pay,” she said.

Kearney Ridge will have apartments of all sizes and plenty of amenities, including a pool and fitness centers for residents’ use. It is expected to be completed a year from now, if not sooner.