Lexington named as finalist in NYC mayor's $9M contest

NEW YORK (AP/WKYT) - Lexington has been named among twenty cities from Chicago to Springfield, Ore., as a finalist in a $9 million urban-innovation contest created by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The cities were to be announced Monday by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire politician's personal foundation. The list is being unveiled as Bloomberg himself grapples with the unprecedented challenges that Superstorm Sandy created in New York.

The finalists came up with novel ideas for tackling issues as disparate as recycling and infant mortality.

Lexington and Mayor Jim Gray submitted an idea known as "CitizenLex." According to the Mayors Challenge website, the Lexington project will be "a new platform designed to engage American ingenuity in city problem solving and planning, through robust mining and connecting the dots among studies, reports and ideas, all designed to build a great American city."

More 7,000 citizens and organizations participated in generating ideas for Lexington's contest submission, according to the contest's website.

"We used it as an opportunity to engage our city employees and the public through a telephone town hall, social media town halls, as well as other public appeals for ideas," said Mayor Gray on the contest's website.

St. Paul, Minn., wants to create the TurboTax of permit-application systems. Lafayette, La., is seeking to create games around civic behavior. Phoenix wants to create "smart-energy districts."

The finalists were picked from more than 300 applicants. They will now compete for a $5 million grand prize and four $1 million awards.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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