Gray gets chance to guide downtown planning

Harold Tate's departure as executive director of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority creates a team-building opportunity for incoming mayor Jim Gray.

Tate, the authority's first and only executive director, prominently supported and gave money to Mayor Jim Newberry's re-election campaign.

Earlier, Tate had joined Newberry in supporting the CentrePointe proposal, which resulted in demolition of a block of historic buildings in downtown's heart, but so far no new development. Gray, who opposed CentrePointe, frequently holds it up as an example of failed leadership.

Under the circumstances, Tate did the right thing by announcing that he'll be staying only long enough to help with the transition and get the authority's next budget in shape.

The mayor sits on the LDDA board, which will give Gray considerable influence in choosing Tate's successor. That will be a critical decision for a mayor who has said creating a thriving urban core will be near the top of his agenda.

Tate leaves a solid foundation on which to build.

Look at how far downtown has come in the decade since the council created the Downtown Development Authority, and it's exciting to think about how much more can be accomplished in the next 10 years.