$400,000 of our tax dollars went into developing a Downtown Master Plan for Lexington.
Then Mr. Pink Pinstriped Shorts decided to completely throw it out the window.
Such plans don’t fit with the bright new future of Lexwebbington.
(But I can’t wait for millions more of our tax dollars going to the CentrePointe Jumbo-tron!)
Bill Johnston discusses this travesty in the Herald-Leader today:
When the Downtown Development Authority was formed, one of its earliest and most important missions was to develop a master plan for Downtown. As a member of the Downtown Development Authority’s Advisory Board, I pushed as hard as I could to help ensure that we did create a master plan.
I thought that once we had a plan everyone signed off on, we would be able to avoid the battles like the one regarding CentrePointe that has consumed us and divided us during the past four months.
I even argued with my neighbors when they said I was being naive. Unfortunately, they were right.
To create this plan, an international consultant was retained. The meetings were open to the public. There were lots of these meetings over several months, and many of us attended and participated in every one.
Many months later, after many hours of city employee time, probably even more citizen hours, and some $400,000, we ended up with what was touted by all as a great master plan for downtown.
The Downtown Development Authority accepted this new plan without dissent. The council and planning commission rejected none of it, although they did table a few items to be discussed at a later time.
But it is important to keep in mind that even those tabled items were the result of extensive citizen input.
Then, the first time someone decided to make a massive dollar investment downtown, their investment immediately trumped the investment the rest of us made throughout the years with our personal time and dollars, and more recently the investment we made in working to create this great plan for downtown.
The CentrePointe project totally ignores some of the most important concepts and principles outlined in that plan (specifically building height limits and the retention of the historic fabric).
One can safely assume that all of the people that participated in that planning process are the people who really care about downtown. They cared enough to get involved.
If there is a silent majority out there (as one councilman suggested) who wants to see downtown leveled and replaced with the largest and most massive piece of architecture one can imagine on that block, where were they during the planning process?
Why do we spend our time developing these plans – more of which are in progress – when they are ignored?