It is well to note that some of the most valuable gifts you and I receive in this community come to us unheralded and from unsung givers.
If, passing through your neighborhood, you notice new landscaping along the street, new street trees, a more pleasing entrance, an improved small park or even a new park for neighborhood enjoyment, then note that you have received a very special gift.
Perhaps the new stop sign, speed signs or traffic light suddenly appear and you feel safer.
You may not be aware that many neighborhoods have spent untold hours trying to lobby for a small park. Neighborhoods in South Lexington worked for years with developers of the Reynolds property to gain concessions to protect their neighborhoods.
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Neighborhoods in the north end of town developed a plan to refurbish homes on historic Miller Street so homes there could be occupied rather than be demolished.
Citizens near the University of Kentucky have worked unceasingly to maintain a quality neighborhood in spite of the impact of an ever-growing student population.
The Wabash-Goodrich neighborhood contributed major time and effort to reduce or eliminate flooding of homes in their area.
All of these efforts bear a cost. Those unsung heroes who help accomplish such feats do so despite their busy schedules, their fatigue, their discouragement, their financial costs and the hundreds of hours it takes to work through the many details accompanying such projects.
Often there is great cost to trying to improve the neighborhood where one lives. When some of our neighbors look around and realize their neighborhood is going into decline, they simply refuse to let that happen.
They see that many of the ills that plague today's society have invaded the place where they live: increased crime, drugs, code enforcement violations, absentee landlords and youth violence.
These heroes step up to the plate, often at personal risk and sacrifice to begin remedying the symptoms that afflict their neighborhood. These different kinds of heroes never quit until they create the changes needed. They seek no reward other than re-creating a viable, safe and pleasant neighborhood for everyone.
Now is a good time to stop and notice the many gifts to our neighborhoods and city from many, many unsung heroes.
You are probably living very close to one or more of these heroes. For it is ordinary citizens from neighborhoods throughout Lexington who have worked tirelessly, unselfishly and often unrecognized who give us all a very special gift: a better place for us to come home to, a safer neighborhood, a better neighborhood and a better community. They've done all this without great fanfare or praise or pay.
Naturalist John Livingston wrote in Preservation Magazine that we have to decide if "our sense of place" (our neighborhood, our eco-system, habitat, residential environment) is worth protecting, promoting and preserving.
He says we each play a role in protecting our place: "What creates ideal cities is the interplay of well-designed neighborhoods and the capacity of each of us to be aware of our place and of one another so we might be good citizens."