As Lexington Downtown Development Authority updated LFUCG today, October 2, on Phase 1 of the streetscape progress, Council Member Diane Lawless responded with a blistering indictment of the S. Limestone process.
“Let me say, I absolutely support that Project getting done. I do not support the fact that it was done when it was, how it was, and the way it was…I don’t think I’ll ever regret a vote as much as I regret that one, and Mr. Morris, I won’t be hoodwinked again.”
(Rob Morris addressed the Council at the opening of the worksession on the True Cost of S. Limestone. See page 4 in this week’s October 8 print edition.)
“They’re still not complying with the contract. The excuses of: you can’t get concrete after 4:30 is not true; they don’t have time to put the heavy equipment up…The conditions are unforgivable and an embarrassment to this community. So I want to make sure as we move forward that we know what we’re getting into.”
“I had a constituent who called me last week who lives on Mill Street and he could not find a way to get home and wanted to know if the city was going to set up a service to deliver his groceries. That’s pretty bad.”
“We have got to have some way to speed this thing up. And the excuses we’re getting don’t work for me. And they don’t work for the community. And they don’t work for good economic development.”
Architect Clete Benken responds to CM Blues question about potential benefits, “There’s the old cliche, no pain no gain, and that’s certainly true of projects like the streetscapes projects. Limestone is unique in that Limestone has a lot of underground infrastructure that was in a terrible state of repair and desperately needed to be replaced. And that’s not typical.”
“Limestone has great potential to be a very productive economic engine for the city. You’ve got one of the country’s finest universities. You’ve got one of the country’s finest cities. What’s missing is the tie that binds them.”
“It’s not pretty to deal with while it’s happening. It’s kind of like making sausage. It’s not very pretty to look at, but it sure tastes good when it’s done. Sorry to use another cliche.”
George Milligan is responsible for day-to-day oversight on S. Limestone and has explained changes to Council before (offsite equipment storage, for example), maintaining the contractors are in compliance as adjustments have been made.
He acknowledged today “there is no written amendment to the Contract. These were field decisions. Had there been one, it would have had to come before you all.”
CM Stinnett’s motion for Council to address the speed of the project was approved and will be addressed next week.
The DDA presentation at Council today began with a comment that their July 29 streetscape Open House in the ballroom was well-attended. It was, but it was just that: an Open House. There was no presentation. There was no dialogue. It wasn’t covered on GTV3.