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Efforts to Reduce Violence Get Lexington Council Review


Mayor Jim Gray’s One Lexington proposal is undergoing review by council members as they break down the budget he presented last month. 

The mayor says the new initiative would focus on better coordination among public and private partners to address crime and social issues. 

Council members last week quizzed the administration about the proposed hiring of a coordinator for the effort. 

Gray defended his suggestion, posing the questions, “How are we going to improve?  How are we going to pull and encourage all of those who are committed to public safety to focus on the issues that we have?"

The mayor says, from his experience in the construction business, he's found it's important to have a point person to coordinate any undertaking.  Gray told council when “everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.” 

Some council members at last week’s work session raised questions about the mayor's proposal.  Council member Angela Evans said it would be just one more person to hear the same concerns about community violence.  She added she felt it was time to do something. 

Evans says young people during the recent “On the Table” community conversation spoke about the need for gathering places. 

She says that might come in the form of additional youth centers.  “We need people to run them with real programming so I think that’s where it goes back to at this point we need to put our money where our mouth is,” offered Evans.

Council member Peggy Henson says she appreciates the proposal for additional police presence in her district, but says more needs to be done to get at the root cause of violence.  Council member James Brown said there’s a need to empower citizens to help make the city safer. 

On Thursday night, council gave first reading approval to the idea of hiring a One Lexington coordinator. 

Final approval could come later this month.

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