A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Homelessness in Lexington reaches lowest level in 12 years; Mayor Gray says work ‘paying off’

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Lexington has reached its lowest level since at least 2005. “We’ve still got work to do, but we’re making progress,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “Our work and investments are beginning to pay off.” From Office of Homeslessness Prevention and Intervention Since 2014, the City has gradually changed the focus of the way we help people who are homeless,...

Lexington’s courthouse once again the centerpiece of downtown as Mayor Gray unveils restored dome

Courthouse dome interior Feb. 8, 2018. (Photo by Amy Wallot) It has been closed to the public for 60 years, home to rusting heating and air conditioning equipment, an elevator shaft, peeling paint and deteriorating plaster. No more. Today, Mayor Jim Gray reopened the restored dome of Lexington’s Historic Courthouse. And it’s gorgeous. “The dome tops off a courthouse that once again will be a...

Lawrence Weathers named police chief of Lexington Police Department, takes office March 5

Mayor Jim Gray has announced that Lawrence Weathers, a former assistant Chief of the Lexington Police Department, will be Lexington’s next police chief. Weathers, 54, is currently Director of Law Enforcement for Fayette County Public Schools. He retired from the Lexington Police Department in 2016, after 27 years of service to the City. During his career, Weathers held a variety of assignments within...

Lexington named ‘All-Star City’ in Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index

The city of Lexington has been identified as one of 41 cities to earn the designation of “All-Star City” in the national Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index scoring. The distinction comes based on Lexington’s efforts toward for LGBTQ Equality. Lexington scored a 92 on the national survey, which is the city’s highest ever and comes thanks to advancements on both community...

Lexington Cemetery trustees agree in principle to relocation of Breckinridge, Morgan statues

Lexington Cemetery trustees stepped up for the City of Lexington Monday, giving a conditional “yes” to accepting the John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge statues. Before the decision is final, the city must fine-tune an agreement with the trustees. Mayor Jim Gray, Police Chief Mark Barnard; Dr. C.B. Akins, pastor First Baptist Bracktown, representing the African-American Collaborative Coalition;...

Following devastating 2016 fire, Blue Grass Stockyards resumes business in new facility

A 70-year Lexington tradition, interrupted by a devastating fire in January 2016, will be back in business next week, as sales begin at the new Blue Grass Stockyards in Fayette County. Mayor Jim Gray, Councilmembers and members of the Blue Grass Stockyards family cut a ribbon to officially open the new facility Friday. “This is a proud day in our city,” Gray said. “This $600-million-a-year business,...

Seamus Carey: Moving memorials of Confederate alumni and what to do with the truth

By Seamus Carey Special to KyForward The issues surrounding the recent unrest in Charlottesville arrived on our doorstep in Lexington when our mayor, Jim Gray, courageously called for an acceleration of the process underway to remove two statues from Cheapside Park in downtown Lexington. Once one of the largest slave auction blocks in the country, the site of this park and the Confederate statues...

Gray says two Confederate statues near courthouse should be relocated after violence in Virginia

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Lexington’s mayor responded to the racially-charged violence in Virginia by announcing steps to take down two Confederate statues located at the former courthouse. “The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week,” said Mayor Jim Gray. Gray said he will present a petition to the Lexington-Fayette County...

New Beginning with Old Spirit: School, community leaders mark opening of Frederick Douglass HS

The school district and community supporters officially opened Frederick Douglass High School on Monday with a brief program, ribbon-cutting ceremony, and informal tours. Featured guests included more than a dozen graduates of the old Douglass High School on Price Road, which opened in 1929. “Our recent reunion theme was ‘A New Beginning with an Old Spirit,’” said Robert Robinson, Class of...

Gray, Chilton open Fire Station 2, the first new firehouse built in Lexington in over a decade

Mayor Jim Gray, Fire Chief Kristin Chilton and Lexington Councilmembers officially opened the new Fire Station 2 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. “This replacement station…the first new firehouse we’ve built since 2005…is essential to serve this growing part of our city,” Gray said. “Public safety is our top priority, and that means making sure our firehouses can meet the needs...

Lexington Police Department using high-tech K9 in effort to keep people safer at major public events

A new four-legged officer is helping the Lexington Police Department sniff out explosives and possible threats to public safety. Residents and visitors will now see Tilly, a Vapor Wake K9, working major community events around Lexington. “Today it is necessary for cities and communities to prepare for every situation,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “Having Tilly at events and venues attracting major...

Former city planning commissioner Smith named to Urban County Government Council by Gray

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Friday named Joseph M. Smith the new Urban County council member for the second district, replacing Sasha Love Higgins. “Joe is well prepared to be a council member,” said Gray. “He has been active in his neighborhood, in public service and is a Lexington native who cares about his hometown. He brings energy and experience to the Second District seat.” Joseph...

Bevin, Gray join celebration as Valvoline opens new $35 million world headquarters building in Lexington

Gov. Matt Bevin and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Thursday joined Valvoline Inc. executives and local officials to celebrate the grand opening of the company’s new headquarters, a $35 million office on Valvoline Way off Palumbo Drive. “Kentucky is a premier location in America for corporate investment, and Valvoline’s decision to locate their world headquarters here stands as further proof of that,”...

Valvoline hosting dedication of its new $35 million world headquarters in Lexington Thursday

Valvoline Inc. will host a dedication of its new $35 million, 162,400-square-foot world headquarters at 11 a.m. EDT May 11. The ceremony makes official what is essentially the birth of a 150-year-old company and further roots Valvoline as a vital and important corporate citizen of Lexington and Kentucky. As a brand of premium lubricants, Valvoline has been headquartered in Lexington for more than...

‘End Panhandling Now’ van to offer ride, job to those asking for help, Mayor Gray announces

Mayor Jim Gray is offering a hand up directly to those asking for a hand out on Lexington’s street corners with an “End Panhandling Now!” van that will travel Lexington streets, offering a ride and a job to those who want an opportunity to work and earn. The van will be operated by New Life Day Center. With approval from the Urban County Council, the City plans to donate the van to the organization....

Grants and Special Programs director Lanter recipient of University of Kentucky Sullivan Medallion

Charlie Lanter, who until recently served as Director of Lexington’s Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention, has been named a 2017 winner of the University of Kentucky Sullivan Medallion. The award is the highest honor UK presents to recognize humanitarian efforts in the community. In 2014, Mayor Jim Gray named Lanter the city’s first director of then newly created Office of Homelessness...

Gray releases new artist rendering for Town Branch Commons, a ‘game-changer’ for Lexington

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has released new drawings of Town Branch Commons, a park that will wind through downtown and a “game changer” for the city. “We are building a Great American City and Great American Cities have great public spaces,” Gray said. “Town Branch will be a link between our beautiful countryside and our urban core. A strip of history that will be a path to private investment...

Citizens invited to ‘On the Table’ kickoff celebration at Keeneland to discuss Lexington’s future

The ‘On the Table’ community conversation starts with a kickoff celebration March 1. The kickoff event will be 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Keeneland Entertainment Center, and is free and open to the public. Participants will receive food and drinks, swag bags and a toolkit to help them host their own ‘On the Table’ events on March 15. “Lexington, let’s gather around a table and talk about...

Gray, Urban County Council rename street near Red Mile to honor former commissioner Sykes

Mayor Jim Gray and the Urban County Council have renamed a Lexington street “Harry Sykes Way” to honor the late Harry Sykes, Lexington’s first African American city commissioner, mayor pro tem and vice mayor. “As we prepare to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and all of that he did for our country, today we are recognizing the accomplishments of a man whose leadership and service...

Lexington Center, UK agree on new lease to keep Wildcats playing in Rupp Arena through 2033

The Lexington Center Corporation (LCC) and the University of Kentucky have agreed in principle to a new 15-year lease at Rupp Arena on Thursday. The new lease will begin at the expiration of the existing lease at the end of the 2018 season. The agreement, outlined in a letter of intent signed this week by LCC and UK officials, will ensure that the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team plays at...