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It was 'fire in the hole' at an unconventional groundbreaking in Lexington


Lexington officially recognized new work on a 252-unit affordable housing project off Georgetown Road Friday — with a bang.

Groundbreakings are fairly standard affairs, with appearances by local officials, brief remarks from those involved, and, of course, the requisite photo-op with stakeholders donning construction hats and shoveling dirt on the count of three.

At Friday's groundbreaking for an affordable housing project, Mayor Linda Gorton also had a chance to press the button and blast away a section of land.

After a warning of "fire in the hole!" a plume of dirt and debris blasted upward, prompting laughter, clapping, and a "woo" from bystanders.

The goal, however, wasn’t destruction but the start of construction for a $43 million affordable housing venture called Kearney Ridge Apartments. The plan calls for energy-efficient, garden-style units with a clubhouse, fitness facility, and a swimming pool.

Charlie Lanter, who’s been the city’s Housing Advocacy Commissioner for less than two months, says demand is high.

"We get a call every day from families in Lexington looking for units just like the ones that are being built here. And so this is going to be a critical addition to our community."
Charlie Lanter, Lexington Housing Advocacy Commissioner

Most of the Kearney Ridge apartments will be aimed at households making at or below 60% of the area’s annual median income — or about $36,000 for a two-person household.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.