Mayor Gray: Lexington's rich past will inform and inspire our future

Discussing Lost Lexington with Mayor Gray in City Hall. Mayor's Office
In the nearly two and a half centuries since Lexington was founded in 1775, this once-frontier settlement has grown into a flourishing city of more than 300,000 residents. It has produced some remarkable landmarks and people. These entrepreneurs, intellectuals and civic leaders had the imagination and vision that helped make Lexington what it is today: a city that embraces new ideas and innovation while valuing its rural landscape and authentic past. ... As Lexington continues to reinvent itself, it is the city’s unique and rich past that will inform and inspire its future.
I was honored that Lexington's Mayor Jim Gray penned the words to the foreword of my book, Lost Lexington. In a few paragraphs, he synopsed the entire text with those inspirational words for the future. Best of all, Mayor Gray wasn't just paying lip service to historic preservation and a dynamic future for Lexington that honors its "unique and rich past." His commitment was a hallmark of his first time as mayor and was on display yesterday during his State of the Merged Government Address (link to full text).

In Lost Lexington, I focused on the landmarks that once stood in and around Lexington. Those landmarks, however, are gone. I hoped that the book would encourage us to realize the history that was lost and do something about the threatened historical places that are still around.

The dome of the Old Courthouse in Lexington.
Author's collection.
During his Address, Mayor Gray discussed Lexington being the best city. He said that "being the best means honoring and preserving our history." 

He went on to deliver a plan for the historic old courthouse in Lexington's core that has been shuttered since 2012: "In 2014 the City shored up the critical needs of the foundation. This year we will be taking steps to save the building. The courthouse needs to be imaginative, innovative and functional ... a gravitational pull that will attract citizens and visitors. The courthouse will have an assessment report in the next few weeks and then in February and March we will host a series of public meetings to get the Community’s input. And I will include funding for the first phase in my budget address in April."

He touched on other important projects, too. Like funding for the Town Branch Commons - a new linear park that would link the urban core to rural Fayette County. And he noted the heavy costs of having city hall in the old Lafayette Hotel. Relocating city hall to a more efficient location would be good for government and could allow private reinvestment into the structure that dates to the 1920s. 

These ideas are all good for Lexington. Mayor Gray is right to do these things and I hope the efforts are all successful. Because "being the best means honoring and preserving our history."


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