Home Arts What Lexington Needs … is to Dream Big! by Mayor Linda Gorton

What Lexington Needs … is to Dream Big! by Mayor Linda Gorton

Over the past three decades, Ace has invited Lexington’s incoming Mayor and Council Members to contribute an essay to our “What Lexington Needs” space that began as an Ace tradition in the 80s.


BY Mayor Linda Gorton

I’ve spent the better part of the past 20 years, including 16 years on the Urban County Council, listening to our citizens talk about what they want for their hometown.
I know our citizens want the very best for their city … they want us to dream big dreams for Lexington. And they’re willing to work with us, side by side, to turn dreams into reality.
The lasting impact of big dreams has made Lexington a Great American City … including big dreams that stretch back 244 years to our founding:
The dream of being a center of higher education, which began here in 1789 when Transylvania came to town.
The dream of being a safe city, which began with the founding of our police force in 1870 and our fire department in 1871.
The dream of efficient, progressive government, which began with merger in the 1970s.
The dream of a vibrant downtown … our downtown is alive with restaurants, an arts and cultural community that is attracting national attention, events, and new residents. And we’re taking our urban core to the next level with Town Branch Commons, an expanded Convention Center, and a reinvented Rupp Arena.
The dream of preserving our farmland through wise land use planning, which began in 1958, when we put the nation’s first growth boundary in place.
Big dreams like these have meant big progress in Lexington. And I want those big dreams to continue.
Now, I know it won’t be easy. For the next few years we are projecting that City budgets will be tight, and we know our challenges are always many.
But it has never been easy to dream big. Even though there will be many hurdles to clear, I firmly believe our future holds great promise.
I see the promise of progress in every corner of Lexington … from our neighborhoods, where we can improve quality of life; to the rural area, where we can develop a center for innovation in agriculture; to our downtown, where a new signature park can redefine our city.
I see the promise of progress in the new jobs that will come here, lured by our quality of life; by our technological capabilities — we will soon be one of the nation’s largest gigabit cities; and by attractive land set aside for economic development.
I see the promise of progress in a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program for those who suffer from opioid addiction; in new safeguards for those who live in danger; and in outreach to those who become involved in gun violence before they enter adulthood.
I see the promise of progress in better land use planning; working closely with our schools; strengthening inclusion; and much more.
So let’s keep those promises of progress by dreaming big Lexington … and working hard. Many opportunities are missed because they come dressed in overalls and look like work.
In Lexington, we’re not afraid of work.
So, please, roll up your sleeves and join us … let’s get to work on the big dreams we share for our City.

Linda Gorton, the longest-serving member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, is serving her first term as Lexington Mayor. Mayor Gorton was elected in November 2018, winning 63% of the vote. Her 16 years on the Council, include four years as Vice Mayor. An ongoing priority of her administration is economic development … jobs, jobs, jobs. Mayor Gorton is focused on making Lexington a technological hub, including high tech agriculture.


About ‘What Lexington Needs’

Thirty years ago, Ace began including a regular feature from our readers titled, “What Lexington Needs.” A diverse array of local leaders —  from artists and architects, to bankers and business owners, and elected officials of every stripe and party — participated over the decades.

In honor of Ace’s 30th anniversary as Lexington’s oldest independent media, we’ve re-opened the forum. Anyone can contribute. Essays are typically 500 words or less, and the most important criteria is that the writer be passionate about what they believe Lexington needs.


Do you have ideas about What Lexington Needs? Share them. Email 500 words or less to acelist at aceweekly dot com. Include a photo and a sentence or two about yourself.

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