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What Lexington Needs: To be there for one another, by Councilmember Liz Sheehan

Photo by Megan McCardwell

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

What Lexington Needs: To be there for one another
By incoming 5th District Councilmember Liz Sheehan

The start of a new year offers us the opportunity for reflection over what we’ve been through individually and as a community, and it provides us the opportunity to look towards the future one year wiser. As the Councilmember for the 5th District, the needs of our community and the individuals who comprise it remain front-and-center in my mind. While attempting to briefly describe what will best serve all residents is difficult, I challenge us all to continue to do the work of showing up and being there for one another.

We need to be there for those facing housing insecurity. Going into the winter months, we have many neighbors unhoused or facing eviction. Local groups working with the homeless population and those facing housing insecurity banded together knowing they could help more people if they were organized and communicating efficiently. They launched covid19renterhelp.org, which has now blossomed into the Housing Stabilization Partnership Program. Because of this effort, evictions decreased and more people were sheltered. Our housing needs persist, and we must continue to work together like this to address them.

We need to be there for local businesses. Our community stepped up by shopping online, picking-up curbside, ordering delivery, buying gift cards that can be used later, etc. In March, the Great Bagel on Boston Road was turned into a restaurant workers relief center providing food and supplies to local workers when they needed it most. Our community came together to serve our servers and other restaurant staff. We need to continue to support our local businesses, workers, and our overall economic development.

We need to be there for our students and education professionals. Students experienced many changes to their learning environments and the vital support systems provided by schools. Our teachers, parents, and students pivoted to online learning. Our families worked through the challenges of online school. Our public school system partnered with local nonprofits to ensure children who relied on school for food still got fed. We need to continue to work together to safely return our students to in-person instruction.

Our needs are great, but so is Lexington. We must build upon the hard work we put forth to get through all we continue to face and be there for one another. As your Councilmember, I’ll be there for you too.

Dr. Liz Sheehan is an instructor, researcher, and student advisor at UK.

Lexington’s 5th Council District is home to many historic neighborhoods and numerous active neighborhood associations spanning across parts of the 40502, 40505, and 40517 zip codes. The district encompasses areas from Warfield Place, to Kenwick, Idle Hour, Chevy Chase, Ashland, Ecton Park, Lansdowne-Merrick, Patchen Village, Plainview, Lakeview, and many others. Visitors may find themselves traveling through parts of the 5th District as they commute, work, shop, and dine along the Richmond Rd corridor, Winchester and Liberty Rd, as well as Alumni and Tates Creek Drive. With seven unique parks ranging in size and many walkable neighborhoods, residents and visitors alike can take time to appreciate the natural beauty and greenspaces found here.

This essay appears on page 10 of the January 2021 print edition of ace magazine.

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