In city address, Lexington mayor sets goals for equity

Hannah Stanley

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Lexington mayor Linda Gorton gave the annual address to to the city and dedicated it the more than 3,000 city employees who’ve been working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lexington has recorded 189 deaths from COVID-19 among community members. Gorton spoke on prevention measures in the city until the pandemic ends.

“We’re made of strong stuff. We’re determined. We persevere until we clear the hurdle until the challenge is met,” said Mayor Linda Gorton.

Vaccine Update

Lexington’s vaccine task force is streamlining the vaccine in order to provide shots to Lexington citizens as soon as possible, keeping the latest updates on their website

“In the oft-quoted words of Robert Frost, ‘We have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep’ in this case, putting COVID behind us,” said Gorton. “We have promises to keep to ourselves and to one another, promises to be safe, to be patient and to have faith.”

The first distributions of vaccines are to be given to those over 70, Gorton included, noting others to be vaccinated when it is their turn to flatten the curve.

Distribution in the city has ramped up as healthcare sites open their own clinics, though some have struggled with organization, sign-ups and long lines.

City Construction

Construction is experiencing quicker progress, working and completion of the following projects:

● Reinvention of the Rupp Arena, expanding facilities by 50% and to be completed early next year with a new ballroom, vide0board, sound system, and wireless internet access

● Construction of Commons trail to run through downtown and connect to the new Town Branch Park, creating 22 miles of unbroken trails

● Completion of sewer lines on Euclid Ave., a year ahead of schedule in addition to those on Manchester St.


Gorton announced the production of a new medical campus for Baptist Health near Hamburg, bringing 600 new high-paying jobs. The production will provide three acres of land to build an additional fire station as well.

Amazon will be bringing an additional 600 jobs to Lexmark Campus for the north side of town. The recently purchased Shriners facility will bring back healthcare jobs and Summit Biogeosciences will add 78 new tech sector jobs.

“Georgia Pacific is expanding its Dixie cup manufacturing facility, adding 50 jobs here,” said Mayor Gorton. “After 2021, all Dixie cups will be made in Lexington.”

Mayor Gorton emphasized the importance of an increase in job opportunities for the city due to the growing numbers of struggling families affected by COVID-19.

Law Enforcement

After 59 nights of protest this past summer, Gorton and her team took a new approach for the safety and systemic racism in the city. She began the Racial Justice and Equality Commission and appointed 70 citizens and two chair members, which have provided 54 recommendations reaching from community-based to state law to improve racial equity in Lexington.

25 police officers have been added to the department, along with body cameras for all police officers. 600 cameras will be added to the detention center to ensure the safety of the staff.

Lisa Farmer has been named the first female in Kentucky to earn a certified jail manager certificate, as well to be the first woman to lead the detention center.

For the ninth consecutive time, the police department has won re-accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation for law enforcement agencies.

“They achieved meritorious award status with advanced accreditation, the highest level recognized by this national organization, which is considered the gold standard in police accreditation agencies,” said Mayor Gorton. “Only three police departments in Kentucky are accredited.”

Community Assurance

In awareness of the LGBQT+ community, Gorton noted the goal to improve the 95 out of 100 Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index score this coming year with a focus on protecting and supporting those of the specified community.

A $2 million grant has been awarded to create a 24-hour crisis outreach team to be available under the New Vista Fayette County’s Community Health Center, health professionals ready to assist in any measure.

“We’ve moved forward calmly one step at a time in safety and steady as we go, but the minute COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror, I predict we will soar economically, culturally, and educationally,” said Mayor Gorton. “So get ready Lexington. The sun is setting on COVID-19. The future is on our horizon.”