Lexington task force works to address neighborhood concerns of gentrification

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Neighborhoods in Transition task force is focusing on changes within Lexington neighborhoods.

Public concerns voiced at the meeting ranged from affordable housing to code enforcement and policing.

Those range from affordable housing to code enforcement and policing.

Thursday night’s public forum was the second meeting the task force has hosted, and the topic that kept coming up was gentrification.

It’s a term that means renovating and improving an area or neighborhood to the point of displacing low-income residents that can no longer afford to live there.

As new developments continue to pop up across the city, so are homeowners' property taxes and renters' monthly payments.
With so much progress, this task force is looking at how to help those that might be getting left behind.

"I think there are several places throughout the city that are going to either experience change or will in the coming years,” First District Councilman James Brown said. “But, I think the north side of Lexington is currently feeling the pressure."

John Wesley Williams Jr. is seeing the same pressure on the east end.

Having owned his home for 40 years, he's still able to make payments, but some of his neighbors aren't as fortunate.

"How can a man that makes eight dollars an hour afford to live there," Williams Jr. said.

"We hear you,” Brown said. “I think this is our honest attempt to gather as much information as we can from what we hear, from what we see, from what the data tells us, and then hopefully we can make a sound decision on how to move forward and try to mediate some of these challenges that some of the residents are experiencing."

It’s an attempt to transition from gentrification to revitalization.

There are still several more public forums expected before the group makes its recommendation on how to help bridge the gap.

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