Downtown management district proposed as economic development tool

ctruman@herald-leader.comSeptember 5, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    Downtown Lexington Management District public meetings

    What: Public information meetings to discuss a proposed taxing district downtown

    When: 9 a.m. Sept. 9; 4 p.m. Sept. 12; noon Sept. 13; and 4 p.m. Sept. 16

    Where: Central Bank seventh-floor training center, 300 W. Vine St.

    Learn more: Dlmdonline.com

    TIME LINE

    Proposed implementation time line for the district

    ■ September/October: Sample pedestrian wayfinding boxes are installed.

    ■ October: Presentation to Urban County Council, first council reading.

    ■ Late October/early November: Second council reading and council vote.

    ■ Jan. 1: District takes effect.

    ■ Jan.-July: Organization of district, board appointed.

    ■ Fall 2014: District could begin implementing limited services, would receive first revenues.

The Downtown Lexington Corp. is overseeing a petition drive and series of hearings for a new management district that touts promotion, beautification, location signage and the addition of an ambassador program for the central business district.

Renee Jackson, president of the Downtown Lexington Corp., said the new district would operate like a homeowners association.

The idea is expected to go before the Urban County Council in October.

Businesses and residences in the district would pay $1 annually for each $1,000 of property. For example, a $200,000 building would pay an extra $200 a year for downtown management district services.

The district includes Vine Street, much of East and West Main street, the Woodward Heights neighborhood, Rupp Arena, Phoenix Park, Cheapside Park, and circuit and district courts.

A video promoting the district's creation features downtown developer Phil Holoubek; Danny Murphy, 2013 board chairman of Commerce Lexington; and Luther Deaton, president and CEO of Central Bank. In the video Holoubek said the district creates the amenities that downtown needs to prosper and "helps create the 'wow' factor."

Four public meetings are scheduled over the next few weeks for stakeholders in the district, Jackson said.

"You do see property values increase, and it does increase your quality of life downtown," Jackson said. "It's an investment in what we have. It's an economic development tool we're not using ... to take us to the next level."

Investment in the new district would ultimately bring more money into central downtown, as more people and businesses come to enjoy the increased amenities, she explained.

"I'm confident that if it is created, people will see the difference," she said.

The district includes 373 properties, with 223 owners, Jackson said.

The first management district was created in New Orleans in 1974. There are 1,200 such districts in the United States, but the only other Kentucky city that has such a district is Louisville.

The Lexington district would have a sunset provision of June 30, 2019, meaning that it would have to be re-petitioned in 2018. Jackson said she hopes at least 50 percent of downtown businesses and residents affected will sign the current petition endorsing formation of the new district.


IF YOU GO

Downtown Lexington Management District public meetings

What: Public information meetings to discuss a proposed taxing district downtown

When: 9 a.m. Sept. 9; 4 p.m. Sept. 12; noon Sept. 13; and 4 p.m. Sept. 16

Where: Central Bank seventh-floor training center, 300 W. Vine St.

Learn more: Dlmdonline.com

TIME LINE

Proposed implementation time line for the district

■September/October: Sample pedestrian wayfinding boxes are installed.

■October: Presentation to Urban County Council, first council reading.

■Late October/early November: Second council reading and council vote.

■Jan. 1: District takes effect.

■Jan.-July: Organization of district, board appointed.

■Fall 2014: District could begin implementing limited services, would receive first revenues.

Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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