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Urban County Council Hears Proposal on Downtown Management District


Resurrecting a 2013 effort, a large group of downtown Lexington property owners have proposed creating a management district to improve the city center’s environment and services.  Reporter Chase Cavanaugh has the details on how it was presented at Tuesday’s Council Work Session.

The management district, whose borders include Newtown Pike, Midland Avenue, High Street, and Second Street would levy a tax of approximately ten cents for every dollar of assessed property value.  Supporters say the funds could then be doled out by an independent board to help cleanup sidewalks, remove snow, and other improvements.  Developer Ron Tritschler says similar districts exist in other cities, such as Louisville, and this one would greatly improve the downtown environment.  

"It’s a great economic tool.   Although there are concerns over the costs to implement the program, I think that the financial rewards will greatly outdistance the costs in implementing the program," he said.

He was joined by other interests, such as Commerce Lexington.  While the overall tone among the crowd was supportive, some individuals, such as Farah Offert, were skeptical. 

“All it’s gonna do is create another tax on their property, gonna raise the rent on every single tenant inside this district that has been gerrymandered and gerrymandered I don’t know how many times,” he said.

The measure will be up for first reading at Thursday’s council meeting, followed by a pubic hearing on April 30th.  The district plan includes a five year sunset provision, and if approved, all plans for redistributing funds would have to be vetted by the council.

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.