Protesting Progress

A developer says the high rise he would like to put up in Lexington requires that all the buildings along Main Street from Limestone to Upper be torn down, but he faces a vocal opposition.

Janie-Rice Brother told her audience at the Kentucky Theater today, "We have many blocks in Lexington that serve as grim reminders of the mistakes of past decades. Urban renewal was not kind to Lexington."

With that pronouncement, a veritable pep rally for preservation was under way. The audience heard from people who live and work downtown and from some who have already successfully integrated old buildings into new ones. There were some angry voices and some more moderate.

The event's emcee, Leslie Beatty, said, "We are not anti-building. We just think maybe we could work together to save some of the buildings that already exist."

If there were ever any question regarding the proposed development, that question was answered by the standing room only crowd that gathered in the theater.

Hayward Wilkirson, the founding director of Preserve Lexington told 27 NEWSFIRST, "We've received emails from thousands of people but to look at the back of the theater and see we had people in the aisles and people in the front row sitting on the floor, it just overwhelmed me. I was speechless."

The big crowd watched a movie about people's memories of downtown, and Vice Mayor Jim Gray, who is proposing an international design competition for the high rise project, thanked developer Dudley Webb for what he called entering the lion's den to attend the meeting, but afterward we asked Webb if he had seen or heard anything that might change his position that all the existing buildings on that block must go.

He quickly replied, "Not really, and the people I've talked to, many of whom are in this group here today, we tried to incorporate all the ideas they had, subterranean parking, no more parking garages, streetscape friendly for people, and we're still intent on addressing those needs and issues."

But Mr. Wilkirson and the preservationists were still hopeful. He said, "I think we have a great chance to all work together for the kind of win - win situation we've been talking about all along."

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  • by Chuck Location: Bluegrass on Mar 31, 2008 at 08:34 AM
    Plaudits to those like the Webb Brothers that want to improve our city. Some of the buildings in questions are old, not historic. In fact they are more hysterical than historical. Tear 'em down. Thanks for investing in Lexington's future!
  • by Amos Location: LexVegas on Mar 31, 2008 at 08:19 AM
    If two or three bars make up Lexington's "thriving entertainment core", we're in trouble...
  • by Trevor Location: Downtown Lexington on Mar 31, 2008 at 07:34 AM
    The "develop upward vs. develop outward" argument being leveraged by the supporters of this project is flawed. Nobody is opposed to downtown development. If this building was to house affordable real estate, both for the benefit of local businesses operating on a modest budget and middle-income families and young people looking for a place to live, there would be very little opposition to CentrePointe. Dudley Webb has already stated that this is not the plan, and as it stands, the project is not sustainable and does not address Lexington's needs. After the Equestrian Games are over and the inital novelty has worn off, this city is going to be stuck with a giant, empty concrete eyesore we'll still be paying for years from now. To come back to your argument, why not just build CentrePointe in Hamburg? It's not like that place is ever going to be developed back into a horse farm.
  • by Angie Miller Location: Lexington on Mar 31, 2008 at 05:47 AM
    This is so heartbreaking to know that the Webb Brothers care nothing about historical preservation, and care only about their own greed. They don't care if the central core of the city turns into another Hamburg Pavillion. In fact, that's what they are hoping for, only to make a lot more money. The thought of demolishing the historical and thriving entertainment core of Lexington's downtown makes me ill, and it should make you ill as well. Please do your part to help save downtown Lexington. If you don't care about your city's historical significance, no one else will either. Visit to do your part today!
  • by matt Location: lexington on Mar 30, 2008 at 07:32 PM
    that building they proposed is hideous. Such a sacrifice as the destruction of these buildings need be offset by a state-of-the-art facility that is friendly to people and pedestrians - that atrocious dime-a-dozen condo is neither...
  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Mar 30, 2008 at 12:22 PM
    You don't want us to develop outward, you don't want us to develop upward, and then you complain that we are not progressive...


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