The pilot program forecast for this summer when the Task Force began meeting a year ago is not yet in place. Food trucks in Lexington occupied a tenuous, precarious Private-Property-Only position long before the Task Force was formed, and more than a year later, they still do. Bluegrass Food Truck Association Director Sean Tibbetts says, “the task force has failed mobile vendors, voted against all of our proposed compromises, and is pushing hard to get our hours and locations restricted to a point that will force most of us out of business,” adding, “the task force has refused all compromises from the food trucks, voted to skip review in the committee and is proceeding to city council on July 10.”
In April, the Association hosted the first Bluegrass Food Blast at the corner of Main and Midland, in the rocky lot where a CVS pharmacy was once planned. Over a thousand diners attended, and most vendors sold out. Tibbetts says, “We must figure out how to get our government to listen not only to the mobile vendors, but the overwhelming majority of the public that supports us and wants to see us become an integral part of the community fabric that will result in a more progressive Lexington.”
He frankly isn’t optimistic, saying, “Food trucks in Lexington just may be doomed,” but he makes it clear they won’t go down without a fight. He says, “if the council really does pass this [proposed] regulation they will leave us with no option other than to pursue legal recourse from the state Attorney General and the 6th Circuit Federal Court. Because this is a constitutional issue, our legal defense is free but will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend a position that has already been ruled against in the 6th Circuit Court whose jurisdiction covers Kentucky. The government’s job is to protect public health and safety, not the economic interests of downtown businesses as they have publicly stated is their intent with these rules.”
But downtowners can taste a little freedom at Main and Midland (on private property) this Friday and Saturday, with vendors in attendance including Bradford BBQ; Common Grounds; Cluckin Burger; Cullen’s Carts; Dogs for Cats; Gigi’s Cupcakes; Repicci’s Italian Ice; Red’s Comfort Foods; The Big Melt; TNT BBQ and Concessions; That’s How We Roll; and Up In Smoke).
The Association will provide free Free the Food Trucks t-shirts to supporters willing to show up at City Hall on July 10. A representative from the Institute of Justice in DC is also scheduled to attend.
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