Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry (wearing red tie) and UK representatives demonstrate town-gown cooperation during UK FUSION 2007.
The University Neighborhood Advisory Council (UNAC) has developed recommendations about a University point person on neighborhood issues, recommendations about three specific geographic areas in the University area, and two general recommendations about housing.
UNAC Recommendations for University Point Person
As a general recommendation, UNAC encourages the University to identify a University point person who would be the prime contact for community members regarding neighborhood issues, and who would take responsibility to ensure that the University consult early and frequently with neighborhood associations, the Town and Gown Commission, and the Fayette County Neighborhood Council regarding neighborhood issues.
Update: The University named Lisa Higgins-Hord, Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement, to fill these roles.
UNAC Recommendations for Three Geographic Focus Areas
These three areas near the University are identified for intensive attention and action:
The Aylesford Neighborhood Association is working presently on street improvements to a more limited section of Maxwell Street. There is an opportunity to work with them in furthering their present aims and also to build on their work to achieve more ambitious goals. Actions by the University could include:
Update: The University has taken these actions:
- Working with the Aylesford Neighborhood Association and independently on transportation grant proposals aimed at street improvements for a longer section of Maxwell Street than the present Aylesford plans include;
- Assisting the Aylesford Neighborhood Association in reaching its matching grant requirements for their present grant;
- Encouraging the College of Design, the College of Agriculture Department of Landscape Architecture, and the College of Engineering to provide in-kind services;
- Working with LFUCG to re-think traffic patterns, including new bike lanes that would tie in to existing lanes on Euclid.
As the University develops its plans for Woodland Avenue, there is an opportunity to link those plans to improvements on Maxwell, and to demonstrate the benefits of collaboration and inclusion. Actions by the University could include:
- Having the Master Plan Update Committee consider extending the planning area to Maxwell Street;
- Working with LFUCG to re-think traffic patterns, including new bike lanes that would tie in to existing lanes on Euclid and potential lanes on Maxwell.
- Update: The University followed through on these recommendations.
The Elizabeth Street area presents a different set of challenges. Because of the increasing lack of balance between owner-occupied dwellings and student rental property, it provides an extreme example of some of the negative impacts of University proximity. Actions by the University could include:
- Urging LFUCG to aggressively enforce existing regulations, including parking, traffic, building inspection, and code enforcement;
- Working with LFUCG on modifications to present infill and redevelopment regulations, with the aim of restoring the balance between owner-occupied dwellings and student rental property;
- Researching other University/neighborhood experiences as a base for recommendations about ways to restore the balance between owner-occupied dwellings and student rental property.
- Update: These actions are all in progress.
UNAC Recommendations About Housing
UNAC has two general recommendations about housing. First, regarding the Employees Housing Assistance Program, that there be increased coordination with efforts already begun and enhancement of those efforts. This includes continued financial support from the President and consideration of increasing funds should they become depleted. UNAC also recommends removing the limits placed on program participants. Currently only faculty without tenure and employees at grade level 46 and below can participate. Eliminating this stipulation gives employees and faculty at higher rade levels the option to purchase or renovate older homes. Having faculty and staff as homeowners in neighborhoods surrounding the university's campus allows them and the university to become a vital part of the revitalization process in and around established neighborhoods.
Update: These actions are being considered.
Second, that the University investigate and identify opportunities for purchasing and rehabilitating houses in the near neighborhoods for faculty and staff housing, either directly or through new financial entities.
Update: These actions are being considered.