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Urban Services Boundary

COMMUNITY

courtesy of Meredith Price, LIVINLEX

longer commute. Having a home in the suburbs away from city noise provides a relaxing change of venue and helps maintain work/life balance. Not only are yards, landscaping and gardens visually pleasing, they absorb dust and chemicals so that fewer pollutants enter into the air and water. However, while there may be less noise and traffic congestion in the suburbs, there is also less proximity to medical care, schools, shopping and entertainment. Underdeveloped greenfield areas may lack infrastructure and public services. Residents need a car for practically everything they do and must incorporate drive times into their daily plans. While many Bluegrass companies want to expand their growing businesses and create more jobs by building out into rural areas, Lexington’s city planners have recommended not expanding the USB for at least several more years. To support a flourishing city that’s also livable, they’ve provided options such as redeveloping within the USB and more infilling. Infilling is the process of repurposing abandoned, vacant or underutilized areas within the already established urban core of a city. That includes making structures into development with both commercial and residential applications, like turning an abandoned office building into modern condos or an elegant restaurant, infusing the areas with renewed energy and character. Vacant lots become dog parks, farmer’s market spaces, or community gardens. Older homes are flipped and remodeled to make them appealing to new buyers. Creativity rules—if more square footage is desired but the lot is small, the solution is to built upwards by adding additional floors. Areas would be served by existing infrastructure such as public transportation, roads, gas, power, water and sewer lines and other utilities. For this to succeed, it has to be a partnership between the redeveloped community, local government, finan-

cial institutions, public programs, and neighborhood resources. Benefits of redeveloping within the USB include more efficient use of land resources, better utilization of public services, streamlined patterns of land use, and reinvestment in established areas with existing infrastructure. This helps reduce sprawl and brings an economic return back to the area. Filling in the gaps of a community’s vacant areas can help reduce crime, preserve local history, drive foot traffic to existing areas, add beauty to the space and create jobs. Redeveloping can increase the value of all the homes in the area and raise the average selling price of a neighborhood. The benefit for buyers is that they can own a new or remodeled home in an established urban area with work, shopping and restaurants all nearby. This not only helps to maintain a neighborhood’s history and civic pride, it also reduces driving and promotes walking and biking. However, even with oversight, redevelopment projects can change the character of an area, and not always in a way residents feel is an improvement. When it comes to the direction their neighborhood is going in, existing homeowners don't always feel their voices are being heard when decisions are being made. Increased property values from redevelopment can be great for homeowners, but it can result in renters being priced out of the area. And when property taxes go up, it can create a burden for lower income homeowners. All the things about Central Kentucky that makes people love living and working here, from scenic beauty to a thriving business climate, will continue to draw more potential residents to the area. What’s the best plan for Bluegrass growth is a debate that will go on, and while there are no easy answers, compelling points and innovative solutions will come from many different sectors. •

May 2019 | TOPSinLex.com

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Profile for TOPS Magazine

Tops in Lexington - May 2019  

Who's Who, What's New and What to Do in Lexington, Kentucky

Tops in Lexington - May 2019  

Who's Who, What's New and What to Do in Lexington, Kentucky