What to Do With $1.26 Million?

Sep 19, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Money from a federal grant program dating back to the 1980s is available to the city of Lexington, but how to use the funds is still up for debate.

Millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development were invested into four local projects in an effort to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Two of the projects, Victorian Square and Festival Market, made repayments to the city and the fund balance now stands at $1.26 million.

Mayor Jim Gray says he’d like put that money towards the proposed 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Lexington, which will need low interest government financing to get off the ground.

“That one in my view fits the original model. And if it’s a loan, rather than a grant or a gift, then we have a chance to recover it and translate it into projects in the future.”

But members of the Urban County Council say there are other ways the development grant money could be used, including being divided up among all council districts or for renovations at the Kentucky Theatre.

The grant money has previously been used to fund loans to small businesses, exterior painting to the Bell House, improvements to Gratz Park, downtown sidewalk design, and the Charles Young Center.

Gray says the discussion about how to allocate funding is ongoing.