Monday, July 25, 2011

Are We Really No. 6

So, Kiplinger's has sent a reporter to Lexington - or better yet, a Senior Associate Editor -  and soaked up the essence that makes Lexington a No. 6 city for best value as a place to live. I am glad that they focus their magazine on finances because they missed it on geography.  Lexington is NOT a Northern Kentucky city.  We, and our metro area are very definitely Central Kentucky, North Central, but very Central Ky.

I don't know how long this editor stayed in town but I will wager that she was escorted around by a member of Commerce Lexington.  She has the wording of the advertising brochures down pat.  The part about keeping the small-town feel while believing that we are the center of the horse farm world, the basketball world, the Southern charm world and just about any other world that you could think of.  Don't get me wrong, we have an impact in all of them but we do not drive what happens in those worlds, we just go with the flow.

Healthcare and the new expanded hospital is a good thing and the University is the largest employer, but the divide between the professionals and the rest of our "diversified" work force is very stark.  A few haves and many have-nots exist side by side here in Lexington, and a few more have-nots every day.  Lexmark, though a major company, is not a huge local employer.

Her comments on physical growth and the self imposed limitations on Fayette County's rural lots sizes do not reflect the thoughts of home buyers, as the cost of real estate here is higher but when averaged with the rest of the metro area will become affordable.  Such affordable housing is much harder to find in Lexington proper.

She also implies that the city is buying pastureland, but the PDR is only buying the development right of said pastureland ( from the folks who would not be allowed to develop it in the first place).

She describes downtown fairly accurately and notes some of the successes and hopes for the future, although her characterizations of the events at Cheapside only point out how few and seldom that they occur.  I still feel that any private group should be able to rent the facility for a fund raiser or get together along the same lines as renting a park shelter in some of the parks.  We should not believe that all functions are to supplied by the city.

Her housing costs appear to be solely for Lexington and not for the rest of the metro area and as someone who has looked for a place with FOUR bedrooms and a family of 4-5, such places are very hard to find in that limited range.  Not all households are young professionals or retired couples but the small family types who WANT to live downtown are priced out of the market.

"Why its fun"  We have Keeneland and the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball to cheer for.  Keeneland for six weeks a year and basketball for 3 months (if you can get a ticket) and each event totals about 23,000 souls at a time.  UK football boasts nearly 2.5 times that number but only 8 times a year. From there, when you take away the dining and drinking around town, most folks find that there is precious little that is affordable to hold their interest.

Lastly, to the mayors comment "wears itself like a loose jacket, it’s not so sophisticated that it’s predictable. We’re not pretending to be something we’re not.”.  We may not be sophisticated but we are predictable and we are ALL pretending to be that which we are not.  Some pretending downward and some pretending upward, but pretending just the same.

1 comment:

PJWB said...

As a professor of mine routinely said, "Too cynical?"

- PJWB @