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Growing pains: Lexington takes on gentrification issues

Forum seeks to balance development, neighborhoods
Posted at 10:29 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 05:25:32-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)  — People in some Lexington neighborhoods say that they feel they are being pushed out by developers looking to gentrify the area.

The issue was addressed at a public forum held by the city's Task Force for Neighborhoods in Transition. LEX 18's Katherine Collins reports that more than 100 people showed up to the forum, sharing their stories and their frustrations.

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilman James Brown said that the goal of Thursday's forum was to hear what those community members had to say, and what they believe the solution is. He said he is hearing from people in many neighborhoods, including the East End and along North Limestone Street.

"We at the city and our community partners, we hear you," Brown said. "This is an honest attempt to gather as much information as we can."

Many who attended the meeting said they wanted to see growth for all.

"I'm concerned about people being displaced. I think most of us are for development, but we want development without displacement," said Lexington resident C.B. Akins Sr. "The structural foundations of why gentrification is happening have not changed, and they're not being challenged in a really fundamental way that they need to be."

Suggested solutions included putting forward stricter guidelines on who can report violations to code enforcement, as well as affordable housing.

"It can't be all about making money. Somebody's got to decide what's best for the city and what's best for all our citizens," Akins said.

This is the second of five public forums the task force will hold. The task force will meet again on September 3 to discuss the solutions brought forward during Thursday's forum.