LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton says even though coronavirus still has a tight grip on the city, she wants to focus on future growth.
Her ‘State of the City’ speech Tuesday highlighted the positive parts of 2020 and like so much of 2020, the address was virtual.
First, recognizing the council and starting her speech focusing on COVID-19
“We are living in one of the most significant times in our city’s, and in our nation’s history,” Gorton said.
With many worried about the economy during a pandemic, she touted the city’s financial health.
“One reason for my optimism about our budget and economy next year, is the economic success we have had this year, despite the pandemic,” she said.
She went on to say though, 2020 wasn’t as bad financially for the city as experts anticipated.
She even highlighted future potential for job growth, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy some like Beau Revlett, who fights to end homelessness as part of the Lexington Housing Justice Collective.
“Having a home is really the foundation of living a good life,” Revlett said.
Revlett thinks the mayor skimmed over some of the city’s struggles.
“It’s very frustrating because whenever you hear, Mayor Gorton talking about how great things are going and how much she’s done for the city, my head just goes to the tenants who I talk to every day,” she said.
Tenants facing eviction, the same group of people Mayor Gorton addressed in her speech.
She says she added more rental assistance relief, but Revlett says isn’t enough because it’s a slow process.
Meanwhile, a community leader and UK professor for nearly 30-years, Everett McCorvey, says Mayor Gorton needed to spread a message of hope because of the severity of COVID-19.
“I think we’re all just really stunned by the losses that we’ve had,” Everett McCorvey said.
Hand-in-hand with the pandemic was the summer of Black Lives Matter protests.
The mayor announced in her speech a partnership with the University of Kentucky to make sure dozens of recommendations on racial justice become reality.
Another move McCorvey thinks will speed up the process and turn paper into actions.
“A phrase that Martin Luther King said, which I have never forgotten, which is: ‘justice delayed, is justice denied.’ And so, I think some of these changes we cannot delay,” McCorvey said.
“This is a critical moment to focus on an opportunity we cannot afford to waste,” Mayor Gorton said.
And while change is inevitable, Gorton is optimistic we’ve already gotten through the worst.