Lexington, KY – After years of discussion and different iterations of a downtown management district, the Downtown Lexington Corporation (DLC) has started handing out petitions to have the core of Lexington’s downtown officially become a management district.
In the first of four public meetings Monday morning, representatives of the DLC board presented a proposed plan for the management district they say would act much like a homeowners or mall association.
A map of the proposed downtown management district boundary. Click to enlarge
Under state statute, the establishment of this type of district requires that at least one third of property owners in the defined area, representing at least 51 percent of the area’s value, agree to an added assessment — in this case, 10 cents for every $100 of property, or $100 for every $100,000 of value. The statute requires that the district be approved by the area’s legislative body — in Lexington’s case, the Urban-County Council.
Downtown Louisville has the only management district in Kentucky, but according to numbers presented by the DLC, there are currently 1,200 management districts in the United States.
In 2011, DLC President Renee Jackson initially rolled out the idea of this management district, which would focus heavily on marketing and beautification of the downtown core. There had been one other management district proposed for the downtown that did not materialize, Jackson previously told
The reason for its failure, Jackson said, was the area’s property owners weren’t on board with the “Clean and Safe” focus of the district. Many management districts nationwide use their resources to keep streets cleared of trash and will even clear sidewalks during snowfall. Some also employ social workers who can help identify problems within the area and act as liaisons with law enforcement and even cut deals with storeowners in the area to convince them not to sell anything less than a six-pack of alcoholic beverages.
The petition, which Jackson said already has three signatures, is in the same vein as the one introduced in 2011. Of a supposed $325,500 budget, $162,750 would go toward a promotional campaign, $84,630 to beautification, $48,825 to management and administration, $16,275 for ambassadors and community relations and $13,020 as a collection fee (4 percent of the overall total) for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
While that is what is proposed, the final decision of how money would be allocated would be in the hands of the district’s board, which will not be appointed unless the district is created. According to the petition, the board would have 15 members, consisting of:
• At least one owner or designee of a retail business within the district
• At least one owner or designee of a residential property within the district
• At least four owners or designees of office buildings within the district
• At least one owner of a parking facility within the district
• At least one owner or operator of a restaurant, food service, or hotel/lodging facility within the district and
• At least one tenant of an office building within the district.