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Bluegrass Threatened
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Photo: Maxim Maximenkov
In Lexington, Kentucky, the debate of sprawl vs. beauty is raging as developers eye the property leading up to Blue Grass Airport. For some people, it’s ugly suburban sprawl. For others, it’s economic development.

The airport is marked with rolling fields of bluegrass. Some describe the setting as unique. The scenery exemplifies the land that nurtures the race horses for which the rolling countryside is known. Not surprisingly, the airport is located on Man o’ War Boulevard. But the airport does not own the 33 acres that welcome home residents and set the tone for visitors. If residents don’t speak up now, the beautiful land along the access road will be bulldozed to build parking lots and businesses that can be found in thousands of other communities.

Every five years the planning commission in Lexington reviews the Urban Service Area, the area to which development is restricted. Proposals have been made to add more than 7,000 acres to the Urban Service Area, including the acreage around the airport. Opponents to the expanded development point out that about 9,000 acres in this area are empty now, and many more sections are underutilized.

Paving picturesque landscape involves infrastructure issues. Considerations include the level of traffic congestion, schools, parks, sewer lines and treatment capacity, and how storm runoff affects water tables.

Be Involved

Think about your community. What has changed in the past five or ten years? What do long-term residents say about the increased amount of boxy stores and blacktopped parking lots? Are there any development projects being discussed in your community? How will these affect the area?

Are you participating in a community group so you can engage in meaningful discussion and planning for the future of your community?

When growth happens, the key is to have input into the process.

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