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Old 08-27-2009, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Todds Rd. area
969 posts, read 2,497,559 times
Reputation: 290

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How come my newer home destroyed "The topsoil which is responsible for our beautiful, fabled Bluegrass" but your older house did not? Wasn't "the vibrant downtown shopping all along Main Street" just as much about greed as you say Hamburg is today?

I am not try to start a fight with you or anything. I just want you to realize that what you are really getting at is that you wanted Lexington to stop growing from the point that YOU discovered it. You are pretty much okay with anything that existed before that point, and think that anything new after that destroys Bluegrass forever.

Nothing has really changed. Look at old pictures of Kenwick or Meadowthorpe. You see house after house sitting on land that was somebody's farm (Or airport in Meadowthorpes case). It was cleared and was as bare as any new neighborhood you see today. At one point, Chevy Chase and Ashland Park pushed development out further since they too were once on the edge of town.

I appreciate your concern for our town and agree that we need better development. I too remember the original horse cemetary for Hamburg, life before Man-O-War, The Saratoga, Tates Creek being 2 lanes past Armstrong Mill. I am sure you must have great memories of even well before that. Lexington still is a beautiful town, and we long time residents need to learn to share it with newer residents.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Kentucky/ Displaced Texan
3,106 posts, read 2,767,488 times
Reputation: 1024
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEXpert View Post
Lexington still is a beautiful town, and we long time residents need to learn to share it with newer residents.

That's what seems interesting to a fairly new residents like my family. There seems to be a group of people who have lived here forever and don't want change butting heads with people who are new and want to add on to Lexington. You can see it in downtown where you have alot of nice small restaurants vs Hamburg where it's nationally owned places like Applebees, Chilis, etc.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:24 AM
 
844 posts, read 1,855,703 times
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Hamburg was poorly thought out, and is a traffic nightmare.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:01 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
10,236 posts, read 21,713,520 times
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I'd like to have seen some more pedestrian friendly elements in HP even if free on site parking remained. That said for a cars only suburban mall HP is very nicely landscaped and it has lots of roads with traffic signals to keep traffic moving fairly well.

On a larger topic, I think some Lexingtonians need to accept that it is a growing cosmopolitan city and not a small college town surrounded by horse farms. Lexington is going to keep growing on the order of 1.2%+ per year for a really long time to come so the discussion needs to be about how to grow rather than "growth or no growth." This isn't Communist Russia, the market determines how much a city grows not a few city council members. This place needs to continue it's greenbelt btw Lex and surrounding towns and get creative with increasing population density while managing the greater traffic problems that come with that
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:13 PM
 
844 posts, read 1,855,703 times
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I'm not opposed to growth that is well thought out. Hamburg's planters are indeed pretty, but too often they block views to traffic, causing many near collisions. The roads are just poorly laid out there. I got rear ended there.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Kentucky
2,927 posts, read 7,717,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LEXpert View Post
How come my newer home destroyed "The topsoil which is responsible for our beautiful, fabled Bluegrass" but your older house did not? Wasn't "the vibrant downtown shopping all along Main Street" just as much about greed as you say Hamburg is today?
I agree with you. With the increase in population, it is required to build somewhere besides downtown.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:57 PM
 
10,928 posts, read 9,006,009 times
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The argument that older neighborhoods also destroyed Bluegrass and downtown shopping was based on greed is quite specious, and unfortunately, it's one that gets repeated ad infinitum by developers, especially at zoning board meetings. I don't want to argue or seem inhospitable either, but as someone who grew up in Lexington, I probably do see some things from a different perspective than do many newer residents.

So let me try to clarify a little. I live in an older neighborhood, in a 70+ year old house that's been in my family for over 55 years. I grew up in this house, back in the days when downtown was just about the only place to go for major shopping. Yes, the part of town was once a horse farm: Ashland, Henry Clay's estate. Then later, it was spun off of Ashland and was known as Ashland on Tates Creek, and belonged to Henry Clay's son John. The land remained in the ownership of Clay family descendents until the mid-1920s-early 1930, when like Ashland Park a decade or so previously, it was developed - by some of those same Clay descendents - and became Chevy Chase.

However: both these neighborhoods were developed sensitively and carefully, with a variety of housing - apartments, duplexes, single family houses - and the natural lay of the land was retained, along with the mature trees. The streets were laid out in patterns which discouraged speeding traffic, and the houses were well-designed, with individual appearances that formed a harmonious whole, and were constructed with sound materials.

These choices by the planners of Ashland Park and Chevy Chase were made over 70 years ago - yet these neighborhood have more than maintained their value and desirability. Why? They are livable, modest, comfortable, convenient, attractive, very pleasant places to live.

Now, I recognize that I am very fortunate that my family decided to live in Chevy Chase way back during my childhood. I realize that not everyone is able to live here, and no doubt some people have no desire to do so. That's fine.

But why can't the qualities which make these older neighborhoods so desirable be replicated in newer neighborhoods? And why can't other older neighborhoods be rehabbed with similar qualities? Why can't we see more infill, like that on Georgetown Street which recently replaced run-down apartment projects with very attractive new homes while preserving the mature trees and existing streets? Why must so many new "developer" houses be monotonously, unimaginatively cookie-cutter in style, plopped down on flat-leveled land from which all existing natural growth has been removed? Why must these developments be so unimaginative, and so ugly?

As for downtown shopping being based on greed, I think not. Downtown was the center of commerce in Lexington for close to 200 years. It could have remained the center of commerce, had places like Hamburg (the most egregious example) been discouraged and downtown renovation and maintenance been encouraged. That way, we'd still have a lively downtown, with most stores being locally owned (unlike the big box chains that populate Hamburg) and still have more of the Bluegrass, too. Some of us remember Stewart's, Purcells, Lowenthal's, Embry's, Bloomfield's, Loom and Needle, Wolf Wile's, and many of the other stores which lined Main Street. It wasn't just shopping - the Kentucky Theater remains, but the Ben Ali and Strand are long-gone (and the Ben Ali was far more grand than the admittedly elegant Kentucky Theater). There were restaurants, dime stores, shoe shops, hat stores, specialty stores...it was the place to be in Lexington and the center of shopping for all of central Kentucky.

Lexington wasn't perfect then - but it was a mighty nice place to live. Many of the changes we've experienced have been for the good, of course. We're far more cosmopolitan now, and there are many more opportunities of various kinds now than in that fondly remembered past. But we've lost something precious, too, and continue to lose it, as more and more acres of Bluegrass - irreplaceable Bluegrass - get paved over, year after year, and are replaced by such tawdry, cheap things.

It's not really a NIMBY issue - it's more like what's going to be in my backyard? It's not about property rights, but about what's right for the community's overall long-term well-being. And often, that is in conflict with some individual's desire for short-term personal gain. In such cases, the best interests of the community as a whole need to prevail. That hasn't always been the case in Lexington in the recent past.

The Bluegrass is a unique, beautiful and fragile area. It's about to be loved to death, often by those who take advantage of the people who fall in love with its beauty, want to live here, quite understandably, but who have no idea of what poorly planned, badly designed, make-a-quick-buck cookie-cutter development is doing to this rare place. I strongly suggest reading Dr Mary Wharton and Dr. Roger Barbour's "Bluegrass Land and Life" to get a better understanding of the nature of this place we love so much.

This is karst topography - limestone, with springs and caves abounding. That makes for beautiful countryside, but it also means that exceptional care needs to be taken of the groundwater. That care has been lacking for years, and over the years, Lexingtonians have paid a heavy price. Back in the early 19th century, there were two cholera epidemics caused by infiltration of polluted water into springs and wells supplying drinking water. We know better now - or do we? For sanitary sewers still overflow into storm sewers and back up into basements all over town. We've avoided further epidemics, by the grace of God and a little more knowledge, but the danger is still there - not just cholera, but also things like typhoid, giardia, and other waterbourne diseases. We presently are in trouble with the federal government because of the terrible condition of our sewer system and waterways, and are paying for it - literally, with big fines pushing our sewer fees upwards.

All of this could have been avoided, with better planning for both present and future needs, and less selfishness and greed. I want to see the Bluegrass remain healthy and I want it to remain the Bluegrass, and see some intelligence applied in planning and designing.

Can't we have more of a vision for this place? Can't we do better to preserve what makes it so uniquely beautiful for both ourselves and those who'll come after us?

Hope this clarifies my views.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:32 PM
 
218 posts, read 564,985 times
Reputation: 118
Two of the things that influenced the demise of downtown and sprawl are: the automobile and zoning. The automobile's rise was aided by the demise of the streetcar(aided or unaided) and zoning set about to separate people's homes from other uses, even the ones that were necessary to the continued functioning of said home. People soon began to live farther away from shopping, so shopping moved to the people. Affluence separated from commonality and the shopping followed the affluence. Walkability suffered and the cycle continues.

How do you propose that we break the cycle?
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:09 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
10,236 posts, read 21,713,520 times
Reputation: 9882
Carto I think the main reason car driving middle class Americans avoid living in urban areas is the outrageous car insurance rates (due to vandalism and break ins), even more than parking problems. When I lived in Old Louisville (a beautiful urban neighborhood in L'ville) my car insurance was DOUBLE what it is currently at my sister's house in suburban SouthWest Lexington - $180 to $80 per month.

Looking at Google Street View of Europe's cities even most new developments are high rise apartments and row homes, places where people mostly don't park their car in a personal driveway. I think they're car insurance rates must be comparable either in the city or suburbs.

The main thing America's cities must do to revive is LOWER TAXES. Most cities have taxed out their middle class residents so all that is left is renters or affluent people who still live there for amenities or snob appeal.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:42 PM
 
218 posts, read 564,985 times
Reputation: 118
Cities today do not pay for themselves with taxes. Suburban sprawl cost cities about twice what they bring in in taxes due to the increased cost of providing services. Inner city dwellers help pay for the services provided to the suburbs. Lowering taxes will only decrease the amount of services that cities are able to provide.

Old Louisville's narrower streets, higher traffic volume, and to some extent, more expensive vehicles all contribute to the cost of auto insurance. If they had left the streetcar in Old Louisville, most of the residents would not need to use their autos as much.

And get back to us with that European insurance quote.
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