Mayor seeks UK’s help for vision of Lexington in 2040

By Erica Mitchell

Mayor Jim Newberry says he has a vision for Lexington’s future community, and he wants students and other city residents to help him work toward achieving it by 2040.

A year ago, the mayor and the Urban County Council decided that a shared community vision and a common sense of direction was one of the six top goals for the city, according to a news release. Destination 2040 is designed to help reach that vision.

“We hope to involve as many citizens as possible in crafting a shared dream for our community, and ultimately in making that dream a reality,” Newberry said.

Other cities, such as Owensboro, Ky., have worked on similar projects, and it’s not an uncommon thing, said Susan Straub, Newberry’s communications director. However, Lexington did not model Destination 2040 after another city’s plan, she said.

The project is organized around a root question: How will Lexington protect all that it values while continuing to grow as a community?

To answer that question, citizens will engage in discussions and meetings, which have been scheduled throughout the next year, according to the news release. The project will focus on four aspects of community life: physical growth, economic expansion, cultural creativity, and improvements in housing, medical care, education and safety.

About 26 organizations, including UK, have made an advance commitment to participate in the project. The schedule for the project anticipates the community to start taking action in August based on what is discussed at the meetings between now and then.

Students might be able to work with Destination 2040 through UK courses that concern community life and government issues, said Charlie Boland, who is coordinating the project.

“We have developed a series of inroads at UK to try to involve students, because they are the folks that are going to be leading the community in 2040,” Boland said. “We have just got to have student involvement.”

UK employees, including Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement Lisa Higgins-Hord, have been working with Destination 2040 since November. However, UK has not finalized the details of its involvement with the project.

Students, faculty, staff and administrators are all encouraged to train as facilitators for the project, Higgins-Hord said. Facilitators would lead a class, organization or committee meeting in a conversation about Lexington’s future. She said she plans to meet with Boland later this week to find out more details on UK’s contribution.

Newberry said the vision for Lexington would need the participation of the whole community.

“I hope (the vision) will be one that will involve an enormous number of people in our community, so that every Lexingtonian who has an interest in the future of this community will have an opportunity to participate in a meaningful way,” Newberry said.

UK’s involvement is key in that vision, Higgins-Hord said.

“Having UK as a partner will assist in the widespread participation the mayor is seeking, as well as provide a shared vision,” she said.

“Mayor Newberry has told us many times that this is one of the most important things he will do as mayor of the city of Lexington, and I agree,” she said.

More information about Destination 2040 and how to get involved is available at the project’s Web site (