Hotel development, pay raises, diversity recommendations clear hurdles

Racial Equality Meeting

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A major hotel, restaurant and retail complex on the edge of downtown Lexington gets financial backing.

It was one of several significant first or second steps Thursday night by the Urban County Council.

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The Urban Council approved $39 million in tax-free industrial development bonds for the Speigle Heights Redevelopment Project. The developers hope to start work as early as this fall on the development on the east end of Manchester Street across from the proposed Town Branch Park.

The deal maintains taxes for libraries, Lextrans and schools. The first phases could open in 2023.

In addition, Lexington city workers are a step closer to getting pay raises.

Council members approved 3 percent pay raises for most city employees and increases to pay scales for department heads. The increases will be retroactive to June 21 once they are approved on second reading.

And more recommendations made last fall to broaden diversity in the Lexington community are taking shape.

The Urban Council approved two major recommendations made by the Racial Justice and Equality Commission.

First, the Council approved a first reading establishing the department of Housing  Advocacy and Community Development.

The new department will focus on housing and related agencies and consolidate some other departments under that umbrella.

The Council also permanently established set up the Racial Justice and Equality Commission to review city policies and monitor progress on diversity issues.