Church plans for mall not ideal but encouraging

The best redevelopment project at the old Lexington Mall site would have been something that put more property taxes into shrinking city coffers.

But news that it is to become a satellite campus for a tax-exempt megachurch is encouraging in a few ways.

This means the rebirth of a high-profile entrance into the city that had become an eyesore.

It's good that the Maryland-based Saul Centers finally decided to sell. The company had occasionally spoken of having redevelopment plans since the mall's decline in the 1990s and vacancy in 2005.

Southland Christian Church, the purchaser, has extensive member services and community outreach, which will mean regular activity at the site and more support for area businesses.

The Nicholasville-based church has decided to have a public hearing on its plans for the site and to get comments on how to design the facility.

That's a sign that it wants to be a good neighbor and an asset to the community.

That meeting will be held Tuesday at the site from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Over the years, many people have envisioned the 30-acre site as a place for new shopping, as a mix of housing and retail or even as sports fields.

It won't be any of those things. But the fact that it finally is going to be more than a parking lot with empty buildings is appreciated.