Printer Friendly

Lexington, Ky. rebuilds neighborhoods.

Neighborhood infrastructure block grants help Lexington,

In an era of tight budgets and declining federal support, meeting public improvement needs poses a challenge for any local government.

Lexington, Ky. has met the challenge of bettering its neighborhoods head on with its new Infrastructure Program.

Initiated in 1990 by Second District Councilmember Robert R. Jefferson, with the support of Mayor Scotty Baesler and Vice Mayor Pam Miller, the program was designed to address the concerns of several councilmembers regarding projects in areas ineligible for federal Community Development Block Grant public improvement funding. It has subsequently been expanded to tackle projects city-wide.

"The Infrastructure Program is in two phases, with the first phase addressing several specific projects--bikepaths, handicap ramps, guardrails, sidewalks, etc.--that have fallen through the local funding cracks," said Jefferson. "These projects are widely scattered in Lexington, both geographically and demographically. Because the projects are low cost, 24 separate projects were funded in the first two years."

Thus the program has had a positive community-wide impact quickly, and within a limited budget. Three hundred thirty-one thousand dollars were spent in fiscal year 1991 and $350,000 has been allocated for fiscal year 1992, including $50,000 set aside to begin the next step of the program--the long range strategy.

This long range strategy is to address neighborhood projects, defined as those entailing multiple public improvements, such as sidewalks, curbs, gutters, storm drainage and road work, in a single neighborhood.

Engineering began in November on the first second phase project, the Withers Avenue neighborhood, which is targeted to receive new sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Construction is expected to begin next summer and could take three to five years to complete.

"The goal of the Infrastructure Program is to go into a neighborhood and 'stay there' until the appropriate improvements are complete," Jefferson said.

The criteria for selecting projects and techniques used for dealing with them were developed over the years in Lexington's successful implementation of its CDBG public improvement program.

"The main difference is the Infrastructure Program is not administered under the same federal restrictions or guidelines, and we can fund projects not eligible for CDBG monies," Jefferson said. "It is essentially designed as a local block grant program."

Individual projects and neighborhood strategy areas are chosen by an Infrastructure Committee from a list compiled by the Division of Engineering. Six councilmembers, the commissioners of public works and housing and director of engineering comprise the committee.

Once the program budget is set through the normal process, the committee puts together the final project proposal list for thefiscal year. The proposal identifies specific projects and their estimated costs and is subject to full Council approval.

Actual construction and design work is overseen by the Division of Engineering.

For more information, contact: Bob Drakeford, fiscal analyst, Urban County Council Office, Government Center, 200 East Main Street, Lexington, Ky. 40507; (606) 258-3207.
COPYRIGHT 1992 National League of Cities
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:City Ideas That Work
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 17, 1992
Previous Article:House tax action on city priorities likely this week.
Next Article:NFBPA meeting stresses excellence.

Related Articles
Ten cities chosen for Civic Entrepreneurs Program.
Twenty High School Students Receive Ashland Inc. Scholarships.
Home Away from Home Away from Home.
NLC announces Howland Award nominees.
Conservation, revitalization earn cities Howland Awards.
City Showcase 2004 highlights available on the Web.
One NLC award winner inspires another project.
Deadline approaching for awards for municipal excellence.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters