The goal of The Downtown Lexington Management District is simple: make downtown Lexington a better place. After years of property owners organizing and petitioning the Urban County Council for a tax improvement district, the ordinance was approved in May of 2015.
The district stretches from Newtown Pike to Midland Avenue and covers parts of Second Street up to High Street. The DLMD was given a budget of $400,00 for the first year, which was generated through an extra 10-cent tax issued on each $100 of assessed property value in the district.
There are 15 appointed board members who are responsible for figuring out what to do with the money. The board is comprised of property owners, community representatives and council members. Jim Frazier is chair of the board, along with Taunya Phillips who serves as Vice Chair.
With only a five year term to prove the return on investment, the DLMD has started transforming the district through cleanliness and safety. This is where the purple shirt and khaki pants crew, known as ambassadors, comes in. Block-by-Block hires, trains and supervises the ambassadors, in addition to managing day-to-day tasks. Headquartered in Louisville, the company focuses on improving the safety and cleanliness of over seventy districts throughout the country.
Jake Gibbs, 3rd District Councilman and DLMD board member, says the ambassadors have already begun making the streets safer and the area better off.
“These workers aren’t law enforcement, but they’re dressed in uniform,” Gibbs continues, “They’re picking up litter, cleaning the gum that’s been on the streets for the past ten years, and being friendly.”
Current efforts are focused on improving safety and cleaning up, but future projects will be geared towards grants for public arts and the beautification of downtown.
“The goal is to get more people coming downtown. We went through a transition of recovery and now there are efforts to make downtown Lexington a better place to eat, live and be.”
A public forum for the community will be held on Wednesday, September 21 in the Urban County Council chambers at 6 pm. The DLMD is looking for volunteers for a non-advisory board, as well as suggestions for improving downtown.
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