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440 citizens offer ideas to improve Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington is full of ideas – 440 of them.

In June, Mayor Jim Gray invited Lexington residents to offer ideas Lexington could enter into a new competition for U.S. cities designed to generate breakthrough solutions that address major challenges and improve city life.

Lexington is one of 394 cities nationwide joining in the competition. Bloomberg Philanthropies will award $5 million to the city that puts forth the boldest and most replicable idea, and four additional cities will each receive $1 million.

Gray invited Lexington citizens to submit ideas by August 1, and 440 individuals or teams did just that. “The prize money would be great, but any way you look at it we’ve got a treasure trove of new ideas that represent opportunity and challenge and encourage a spirit of continuous improvement,” Gray said. “And we’ve again proved Lexington’s true strength is its citizens - people are engaged and care about the future of their community as we work to Build a Great American City.”

With the window to submit ideas now closed, city officials can focus on the evaluation process before submitting a final idea to Bloomberg by Sept. 14. The city is finalizing plans for the evaluation process, which include Gray, former state auditor Crit Luallen and local businessman Jim Host.

In the campaign for ideas, the mayor’s office created a web page to gather feedback and conducted Town Hall discussions over the phone and through social media, reaching out to as many people as possible, both near and far. Over 7,000 people participated in Lexington’s first Telephone Town Hall on July 11.

“We heard from all across the country … former residents, natives and even people who have never lived here, but really appreciate the process and our desire to improve,” Gray said.

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