UPDATE: About 11,000 participants join “On the Table”

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Blue Grass Community Foundation says that about 11,000 Lexington residents participated in “On the Table,” a series of community-wide conversations about what makes the city great and what can be done to make it even better.

Volunteers throughout the city hosted approximately 1,100 tables of 8 to 12 individuals each over a meal or coffee. Participants included local philanthropists, refugees, young professionals, neighborhood associations, city council members, senior citizens, the homeless population at Phoenix Park, area nonprofits, and more.

“The response was amazing,” said Lisa Adkins, president/CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation, which led the effort. “We had representatives from every residential zip code in the city, and we reached 662,337 people through social media using the hashtags #onthetableLEX #ottLEXyouth.”

Participants in “On the Table” received an online survey the day after the event.  “This confidential survey is how the Community Foundation and Lexington’s Division of Planning will learn about the issues, concerns, ideas, actions and solutions that were part of the conversations,” said Adkins.

She added that discussions will help inform the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Comprehensive Plan and Blue Grass Community Foundation’s future priorities as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The University of Illinois is analyzing results of the surveys.  Additional updates and a complete report will be made public in August.

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3/16/17 10:26 a.m.

“On the Table” initiative draws thousands to discuss direction of city

“On the Table,” a city-wide conversation aimed at generating new ideas and solutions to improve Lexington, kicked off Wednesday night, drawing thousands of residents of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds at libraries, coffee shops, and churches.

“It’s a chance for every person in Lexington – black, white, red, orange or yellow – to come together and to address the questions, because the mayor and the council are getting ready to do the comprehensive plan,” said Jojuana Leavell-Green, with Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

The initiative was sponsored by the Blue Grass Community Foundation, along with Lexington’s Division of Planning, and Leadership Lexington.  Different organizations hosted talks to discuss issues close to their hearts.

Shambra Mulder, with NAACP Lexington, says, “We want to make sure as the NAACP, we’re representing communities that may not traditionally participate in things like this, and so we thought, ‘Okay, we can be a super host and we can also connect with some other groups with the same mission and get some good answers to some problems that maybe some people don’t see.'”

The goal of the initiative is simple: get more people involved in the city’s planning process so that the community meets the needs of everyone who calls Lexington home.

“So many people, they feel like, ‘Well I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to get my voice heard, I don’t know who my representative is,’ says Sharon Murphy, of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.  “So, I feel like events like this, it kind of eases off the pressure.”

Participants filled out surveys during the talks, and organizers say the information from those will be taken into account as the city beings it’s comprehensive planning process.  Some feel, however, that while the talks may be a good start, they won’t be satisfied until they see real results.

“I think it’s a great event but, after getting the questions and the feedback and if it doesn’t go anywhere, then there’s no reason to have it again,” Jojuana Leavell-Greene says, before adding, “But, I believe that if we can get the community involved, people are recording the answers and get it to the right person and we see change within two or three years, I believe it’s a great event to continue to have every year.”

 

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