Best For Lexington

Selected winners speak out on What Lexington Needs

Lexington needs more support and patronization of locally-owned businesses. We need more public art projects like the horses but with generous sponsors who think more of encouraging local artists than finding a novel subject on which to paste their marketing efforts. We need to value our local history and historic buildings. Lexington renters need landlords to care for the homes and buildings they lease. Lexington needs more funding for local arts organizations to offer new, fun activities for young people. Our town needs venues for local bands. We need bike paths through horse-farm country so we can appreciate and value the area which needs our support to deter development. We need a lake nearby for swimming, sailing and good, clean fun. But most of all we need fewer restaurants and more people to enjoy Lexington's favorite pancakes! 

-Jess McClanahan (and Alfalfa friends), Alfalfa Restaurant Co-owner, voted best pancakes in town

Lexington needs high-density, well designed in-fill housing downtown. Sleek multi-use buildings with retail, parking and residential units for rich, poor, and in between ...

Lexington needs to respect its past and its older neighborhoods and encourage reuse and repair. When new buildings are built downtown or in the suburbs, they should be art works designed by creative and talented architects. After fifty years, anything is eligible for the National Register.

Lexington needs to reduce the size of the Urban Service area every year instead of the current practice.

Lexington needs to support the farmers' market downtown
-Jim McKeighen, voted best realtor in Lexington

Let's start with bike lanes. It's time to segregate bikers and drivers. On the subject of segregation, how about ending it in Lexington housing? There's an almost frightening homogeneity in Lexington neighborhoods brought on by unfair housing practices and close-minded homeowners. Maybe we could re-purpose some of our downtown office buildings to mixed-income housing.

Then there's the issue of better access to donuts downtown. A Mill Street donut shop with a giant revolving sign is just the answer. Divert the Ohio River to run down Mill Street, and the downtown Lexington marina district becomes the destination of choice for tourists and locals alike. You could even take one of Lextran's new gondolas to the annual downtown film festival, enjoying a donut as you take in a diverse sampling of local filmmaking talent.

Get it in your head as clear as you can.

That's the kind of vision Lexington needs.

-Bob Campbell (fourth from left) of squareFish,

voted best web designers

Lexington needs a pastry shop that makes Italian cannoli and panelle.

-Ernesto Scorsone, voted best state legislator

My first inclination would be to say that Lexington needs more cool, locally-owned stores and restaurants, but in fact it has a good many right now. What it really needs are more people to give these businesses a try instead of automatically assuming that "big box" stores are better.

And by the same token, Lexington has plenty of fine artists and cultural opportunities; it just needs more people who want to take advantage of them instead of watching Survivor.

And I don't think there is any shortage of good ideas on the part of planners, architects and civic activists for improving downtown and building better suburbs, but there is a shortage of property owners and developers who are willing to take the risk of trying those ideas.

As Walt Kelley said, "We have met the enemy...." and well, you know the rest.

But let's get down to something a little less lofty but of crucial importance: notwithstanding the above, Lexington needs a real diner.

Preferably one of those cool looking ones with the stainless steel siding.

Not some oversized chain-restaurant "diner theme" fantasy. Not some glorified hamburger joint with silly "nostalgic" reproduction Coca-Cola signs on the walls.

No, I want a real, unpretentious diner just like in New Jersey, with booths and a formica counter and blue-plate specials and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn along with my pork chop. And a slice of pie a la mode. I don't have a reservation and I don't want to wait to be seated by the hostess.

-Steve Baron owner (on right), CD Central,

voted best record store in Lexington

Lexington needs people to get involved! Throw away the remote, get up off the couch and do something instead of waiting around for others to do it. Volunteer with an arts organization, at an animal shelter, or any other cause you feel strongly about. Once a week I volunteer for Woodstock Animal Foundation at Petsmart. It's fun, emotionally rewarding and you can't help but smile when you are pushing around a cart load of puppies. If I hadn't been a volunteer, I wouldn't be writing this essay. Last January, I started volunteering at the Lexington Art League as 4th Friday Volunteer Coordinator and started serving on the committee.

From my work in that capacity (which I loved doing), I was asked to apply for the Executive Director's spot which opened up a few months later.

I'd like to see people in Lexington explore more. That includes searching out unusual, offbeat places in Lexington. It's so easy to stay in your own neighborhood, forgetting that others exist.

I discovered the Art League that way, deciding to check out an art gallery on a rainy fall day. You can see how my life has changed from that one small action. 

We need to appreciate our history and preserve it. Lexington is an amazing place and we forget that. Loudoun House, the home of the Art League, is a real find. I was shocked to drive up and see a castellated gothic villa in Lexington of all places. Again, another one of life's little surprises. Loudoun House's "twin" is Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York and was used in the show Dark Shadows.

All historic homes require renovation and Loudoun House is no exception. The Castlewood Neighborhood Association has put together a proposal, along with the Parks and Recreation Department which would renovate Loudoun House, the Gymnasium and build a new badly needed community center for the North Side. Let's hope this happens.  The neighborhood deserves it.

-Polly Singer, executive director, Lexington Art League, winner of best art exhibit in the last year (Nude 2000)