Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Lexington Connections

Today, both the Herald-Leader and Business Lexington, presented articles on a study funded by the John S. & James L.Knight Foundation(Wow, that sounds impressive).

Their report on year two of the three year study is characterized as showing that
Lexington residents rank "social offerings" (fun places to gather) as one of the most important factors in connecting them to their hometown.
the other important factors were Education and Aesthetics.

These factors are called by the articles(if not specifically by the report), the top reasons that Lexington residents remain connected with our city.

Out here in the blogosphere, I hear many of our young people bemoaning the lack of good, inexpensive "fun places to gather" and that Lexington should have a lot more "like Louisville or Cincinnati". These are our representatives of the "creative class", the ones that we are trying to retain and increase. So, where is the disconnect?

These "social offerings" are an important factor, yet a lacking commodity in the minds of a growing number of the principle group of our residents that we are most worried about. And then there is that troubling last word in the above quote, hometown. Hometown, to a large majority of people that I've spoken to, on-line and off, means somewhere other than Lexington. Mrs. Sweeper has lived in Lexington for 20 years or so and does not consider it to be her hometown. Of the folks that I work with, only a handful think of Lexington as a hometown. And most places that I go, people are amazed to find that I am a native, one of the few that they know of.

This is not the first time that "social offerings" have been listed as an important factor. Earlier studies and polls have
cited a need for more entertainment options — more cultural programs, live music and festivals — a more robust and welcoming downtown area, more affordable downtown housing and better sources of information about places to dine and enjoy music and the arts.
Alright, now it is out there. The creative class has recognized and documented a need. Now this young, very creative bunch of young professionals should be going about the process of making a solution to this need. Honestly, I don't think that this is something that the government should be doing anything about other that regulating the operations of all businesses. Government should not be in the business of defining or managing recreational social offerings. With well over
50% of this creative class being in the legal, accounting or education fields ther should be more than enough skill-sets to generate the desired level of these social offerings.

There is also in the Business Lexington another article pertaining to a residential development's assistance in connecting it's young professionals to the social scene of Lexington. This assistance comes in the form of cheerleading a group of residents to become involved in their community, a group who has chosen to live a certain lifestyle and a certain location of their choosing. This lifestyle community must now entice the residents to connect to the overall community through its management company's social director. A management company that is a blend of apartment complex/HOA managers, as they cover the apartments and the condos (these guys rank just higher than used car or insurance salesmen in my book).

If our young professionals need to be led to interact with the greater part of the local community and they have to have their social gathering places created for them, what exactly does that say about them?

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