Mayor Linda Gorton shares success from 2023 and what’s ahead in 2024 State of the City-County Speech

Learn about the public safety + affordable housing wins, and what’s on the horizon including new parks developments and public artworks in Mayor Linda Gorton’s State of the City-County address.

Mayor Linda Gorton standing a podium smiling with red glasses, a pearl necklace, and a light blue, gray, and black dressy coat on.

Mayor Linda Gorton delivers the annual State of the City-County address Jan. 30, 2024. | Photo by Amy Wallot

Yesterday, Mayor Linda Gorton delivered the State of the City and County Speech, looking back on her five years of service and ahead to future developments.

“Government is tasked with building strong citizens, strong families, and through them, a strong community,” said Mayor Gorton. “This is a wonderful city, full of the best people anywhere, and it is my great honor to be your mayor and lead this city forward.”

She discussed the important aspects that have helped strengthen our community including:

  • Focusing on public safety
  • Attracting good jobs
  • Building a sound infrastructure
  • Supporting arts and culture
  • Maintaining a high quality of life

Public safety

Mayor Gorton noted that the foundation of any successful city is its public safety. Lexington officials made this a top priority in 2023 with major investments in crime-fighting technology.

Last year, Flock Safety License Plate Readers recovered $1.6 million in property, including:

  • 127 stolen vehicles
  • 17 guns found + off the streets
  • 4 missing people
  • 127 warrants + subpoenas served

She also touched on the expansive work our city’s fire department through the community paramedicine services which supports those battling with mental health issues, addiction, and those experiencing homelessness. Thanks to an $850,000 grant, a new crisis response team will be added.

Earlier this month, Mayor Gorton and city officials revealed the annual report for ONE Lexington, which boasted a 46% decrease in homicides over 2022. “Through ONE Lexington, we’re building strong citizens, one child at a time,” she said.

A map of Lexington showing where the Legacy Business Park will be.

The creation of Legacy Business Park aims to attract more businesses to LEX. | Map courtesy of TKTK

Employment + economy

Regarding the city’s economy + employment rate since taking office in 2019, Mayor Gorton had this to say: “We have more than recovered — we are thriving.” She added there are 3,000 more Lexingtonians employed than there were in March 2020.

Highlights include:

  • Bluegrass AgTech Development Corp. | This partnership promotes Lexington as an international hub for ag tech businesses. Mayor Gorton noted that 70 companies have expressed interest in coming to Lexington so far.
  • Second Chance Academy | Through a partnership with Jubilee Jobs, inmates are able to gain important employable skills, job training, and get help with job placement.

She also announced the city’s website is getting a fresh look taking a “step forward in transparency.” Fun fact: 450,000 people visited the city’s website in December 2023.

A group of people cutting a big turquoise ribbon

Ribbon cutting for Polo Club Park Apartments on Jan. 18, 2023.

Photo by Derek Terry

Affordable housing

Since the creation of the Affordable Housing Fund in 2014, the city itself has invested over $30 million for affordable housing. In just 2023, it allotted $7.4 million to create 234 units for those in the low income bracket, older adults, those living with mental disabilities + those experiencing homelessness. In the next budget, ~$5 million will move to support affordable housing.

Additionally, the expansion of the Urban Service Boundary will put an emphasis on developing affordable + workforce-ready housing.

New + coming soon developments

In addition to the creation of the Hope Village + new East Sector Roll Call for police officers, $11.7 million worth of road resurfacing, dozens of other projects are in the pipeline, including:

  • Work Force + Community Centers in Davis Park
  • Legacy Business Park, an industrial office park boasting ~146 acres ready for development.
  • Cardinal Run North
  • Kelley’s landing
  • A new sculpture on Old Frankfort Pike outside of New Circle Road
  • A public art installation at Gainesway Park
  • A new downtown sculpture to celebrate our 250th anniversary