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Mayor's state of merged government address delivered virtually due to pandemic issues

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Originally planned to take place in the newly renovated Central Bank Center, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton delivered her State of the Merged Government address virtually Tuesday due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases. As WUKY’s Arlo Barnette reports, she reviewed a year of hard-won progress.

Gorton said the city received national recognition last year for its Lex Do This vaccine campaign and door-to-door canvassing effort. Lexington was also recognized as for its affordable housing program and the mayor created a Department of Housing in this year’s budget. She touted investments in public safety, including police recruitment, community outreach, and strengthening accountability in police disciplinary issues.

Gorton said there’s work to do especially concerning homicides, but overall violent crime is down by 16% since 2017. She thanked Lexington first responders who helped western Kentucky recover from last month’s deadly tornadoes.

The mayor recalled recent investments from Amazon, Rubicon, and Baptist Health, saying the city completed a master plan for more business development at Coldstream. Parks continue to be renovated and design is underway on a new one... Davis Park, located along Oliver Lewis Way. In her words, “we’re building trails everywhere.”

Among many things on the horizon, Gorton will name a permanent commission on Racial Justice and Equality. Gorton announced Lexington will resume paper recycling from home carts in March and wastewater treatment will soon transition from chlorine to ultraviolet disinfection.