Task Force and residents comment on redevelopment in targeted neighborhoods

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A city task force in Lexington wants people in poor neighborhoods targeted for redevelopment to take a survey.

The idea behind it is to come up with ways to improve the area without forcing people from their homes in the name of progress.

Robert Hodge has lived on Race street for years, one of the areas that could see redevelopment.

He says he’s already to see a lot of change from the area compared to previous years.

“It was one of the worst streets in Lexington and now it’s beginning to turn around and we are also two blocks from downtown,” says Hodge.

The location makes the area attractive for redevelopment, which Urban County Councilmember and Task Force Chair James Brown says could force people from their homes.

“There’s a potential for displacement whether it be cultural or residential displacement as well as displacement of minorities that have historically lived in these communities,” explains Brown.

Hodge fears people who have been here for years won’t be able to afford their own homes with investors “moving in” on older houses.

“They’re buying houses for 30-40 thousand dollars, putting them back on the market for 200 thousand and then you have people here who are only making 700 dollars a month for rent,” explains Hodge.

Brown hopes the Task Force online survey will help, but Hodge says there’s a problem.

“In this area, a lot of people don’t have computers you got people 60-70 years old that don’t know how,” says Hodge.

Hodge thinks perhaps a tax incentive for people who aren’t trying to sell, and code enforcement could play a role.

“I think sometimes we are getting wrote-up for cosmetic things that aren’t really a safety issue,” says Hodge.

ABC 36 News brought this to Brown’s attention who told me the Task Force is looking at code enforcement to try and meet the need and help people stay.

“Some of the things such as policies that surround code enforcement we do have the ability to address and adjust city policies to prevent displacement,” explains Brown.

People who can complete the survey have until June 4th. The task force expects to submit its final report to the Urban County Council by early summer.

To fill out the survey click the link here

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