Op-Ed

Grocer will be found for Romany site

Kroger has announced that the Romany Road store will close Sept. 12.
Kroger has announced that the Romany Road store will close Sept. 12. Herald-Leader

In the macro-economic sense, the decision by the Kroger Company to close its store on Romany bears little note. In the close-knit group of neighborhoods of Chevy Chase, this was change — for some, momentous change — all within walking distance.

Through the courtesy of Christ the King Cathedral, we hosted a well-attended community forum Sept. 15. It was a great meeting with tremendous exchange of pertinent information among a group numbering 150 strong. We talked about the area zoning designations and current usage. Folks vented. Memories were recalled.

Then the blessing of the human spirit set in and we began to talk about the logistics for some community events to help keep the neighborhood connected. Then came the spontaneous listing of other grocers and thoughts of what use might best befit the venerable grocery building. Not many uses other than another grocery needs were shared. Understandable.

Let's step back for a moment and consider the state of change in Lexington just now.

Daily, the new Summit project on Nicholasville Road and Man o' War takes shape. After years of retail on the right side of Nicholasville Road, this is a big left turn. Huge acreage once tended is now under permanent harvest.

We have been lucky enough to lure Dr. Michael Karpf to the University of Kentucky to build the medical center the way he did in Westwood, Calif., for the UCLA Medical Center. He must now feel second to the best sandbox builder ever, UK president Eli Capilouto.

The University of Kentucky is 150 years old this year and no one has done more to make it a bricks-and-mortar university than its current president. He's rebuilding the school to a standard that is envious — on purpose. The campus is changing and will find favor among the millennial cap-and-gown clientele.

Our mayor would love to effect change at that rate and he is qualified to do so. Today he is the level change agent who blends what was with what can be. Rupp Arena change may have stalled, but the more transformative Town Branch Commons continues to capture the public's imagination. That change will repurpose downtown and continue revitalization of an already reenergized city core.

So what does that have to do with the smallest Kroger closing?

No matter where you live in Lexington, the sense of community and belonging is of utmost importance. When your market closes, change just happened to you.

In our community meeting, we moved beyond the current and into the possible.

That is where Lexington is today. We are leaving the safe confines of "town" behind and becoming a city among the rich horse, cow and agriculture farms which are enticing and to be preserved.

Our neighborhood will work to find a new market, and other neighborhoods may have to also at some point.

Change here is sometimes in fits and starts; right now we are creating neighborhoods that weave community fabric into them.

We emphasize bike lanes and alternative transportation. We help create community gardens. We now tend to our corridors, planting and maintaining them as never before. Our upgraded snow plan will include clearing the government's own sidewalks, including those on Man o' War.

This is just a partial list of current change for the good, but it's not the whole picture. Lexington faces its share of challenges.

Change isn't for its own sake here. It's the key to a sustainable future. The revolution that gave us our name gives us our determination, too.

We will find a new neighborhood grocery and in so doing will make ourselves and Lexington the better for it.

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