Sunday, January 10, 2010

And So It Begins

Last week I received an e-mail from the Sisterhood Committee of Temple Adeth Israel concerning the first of a series of talks. The initial one was to spotlight one Jim Gray, Lexington's Vice Mayor and the topic was named Our City, Our Vision, Our Purpose. Here was a perfect opportunity to find out just what Jim Gray has planned for our fair city, so this afternoon I found myself in the assembled group.

I cannot call it a crowd because it was only about 40-50 people, but they wanted to hear about Mr Gray's plans for the future.

He gave a quick recount of how he had been invited prior to his decision to run for Lexington's top spot, although he had been thinking about it. The theme, Our City, Our Vision, Our Purpose, is one that I am extremely interested in and I really wanted to hear in which direction he would like to lead our city.

The three hallmarks of his vision, I think, will be Accountability, Transparency and Uniqueness. He then launched into a retelling of the need to more oversight or control of some of the outside agencies and the cost control measures that he would like to impose on some of our government projects. He spoke of the need for the city to expand their dialogue with the public and asked for the public to temper their expectations as to the time frame of the dialogues. Finally, he stated that he, along with most of the group, had moved here from elsewhere. That the uniqueness of Lexington was what had enticed most of them to stay and the "Lexington was the shining light on the hill". All in all I was not impressed with his vision so far.

When asked about his thoughts or vision for the "pasture in the center of town" he gave a rambling story of how he speaks to his downtown neighbor (Mrs Miller of Barney Miller's, a member of the Temple) quite often about the downtown situation, then into a story about how they came to located downtown. The story goes that they had already made the decision to move to Lexington, bought property and were designing a building, when the owner of the Wolf Wile building called to lower the asking price of the downtown location. Joe Wile was also a member of the Temple congregants, prior to his death. He was clearly playing to his audience but there was no solid answer for what should be or could be done on that block in the near future.

Concerning the Lexington Mall, he did say that he would like to talk to the owner(B.F. Saul Co) and that Lexington is in the process of getting a nationally known consultant on growing our commercial development possibilities. On our infill and redevelopment process and our student housing problems, he did say that we are making progress. There is a movement to establish a community design review board, but if it doesn't function any better than the Court House Area Overlay review board, which he stated that he thought that it had failed, why the bother.

As I read back over this, I am struck that it seems to wander and ramble a bit, but for the hour of the presentation this is pretty much how it went. In the end I know three things.

Our City is Lexington, Our Vision is still clouded by the future, and Our Purpose was not laid out in any shape, form, or matter.

Next week they will hear from Ms Issac, same time same location. I guess that I will have to go back.

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