Margaret Long wins Neighborhood Hero Award; upcoming workshops

FCNC Members and Friends,

The FCNC awarded the first “Emma Tibbs Neighborhood Hero Award” on Monday December 9 to Margaret Long, who for many years has been a leader with the Pine Meadows Neighborhood Association in the 11th Council District, who was active in forming many other 11th district associations, as well as who has served long and faithfully in various roles on the FCNC Board of Directors. The award was well-deserved, and Mayor Gorton and Council-Member-At-Large Richard Moloney both spoke entertainingly about Margaret and City Government. It was a good meeting!

Many of us remember Emma Tibbs, and we know that if you knew her, you are not likely to have forgotten her! At the end of this email, is the content of a Herald-Leader op-ed by Emma from 2010 that I think you still will find timely. We hope it serves as a reminder of Emma to those of us who made her acquaintance and a good indicator of her dedication to the cause of neighborhoods for those of you who did not.

Please watch your email for announcement of a series of FCNC workshops on finding and using city sources of information — how to access information about zone changes and proposed development in and around your neighborhood. This series will be for people who understand Internet and information technology basics (i.e., the computer savvy), but who are ready to know more about city systems that track zone-change requests and development plans, and those that publicly post Council business and major reports, studies, and contracts.

Details on these workshops will follow via email by Christmas, we hope. If you are one who could use such information productively for your neighborhood, please REGISTER EARLY. Seating (in the Library computer lab) for these hands-on workshops is very limited. The first workshop, on January 18, 2020 will cover the Accela and Building Eye applications for tracking zoning, development, and building projects. Sign-up will be via electronic registration (through eventbrite).

Here is Emma’s Op Ed reprinted from the May 18, 2010 Lexington Herald-Leader:

Recognize unsung neighborhood heroes

by Emma Tibbs

It is well to note that some of the most valuable gifts you and I receive in this community come to us unheralded and from unsung givers.

If, passing through your neighborhood, you notice new landscaping along the street, new street trees, a more pleasing entrance, an improved small park, even a new park for neighborhood enjoyment, then note that you have received a very special gift.

Perhaps the new stop sign, speed signs, or traffic light suddenly appear and you feel safer.

You may not be aware that many neighborhoods have spent untold hours trying to lobby for a small park. Neighborhoods in South Lexington worked for years with developers of the Reynolds property to gain concessions to protect their neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods in the north end of town developed a plan to refurbish homes on historic Miller Street so homes there could be occupied rather than be demolished.

Citizens near the University of Kentucky have worked unceasingly to maintain a quality of neighborhood in spite of the impact of an ever-growing student population.

The Wabash-Goodrich neighborhood contributed major time and effort to reduce or eliminate flooding of homes in their area.

All of these efforts bear a cost. Those unsung heroes who help accomplish such feats do so despite their busy schedules, their fatigue, their discouragement, their financial costs, and the hundreds of hours it takes to work through the many details accompanying such projects.

Often there is great cost to trying to improve the neighborhood where one lives. When some of our neighbors look around and realize their neighborhood is going into decline, they simply refuse to let that happen.

They see that many of the ills that plague today’s society have invaded the place where they live, increased crime, drugs, code enforcement violations, absentee landlords, and youth violence.

These heroes step up to the plate, often at personal risk and sacrifice, to begin remedying the symptoms that afflict their neighborhood. These different kinds of heroes never quit until they create the changes needed. They seek no reward other than re-creating a viable, safe, and pleasant neighborhood for everyone.

Now is a good time to stop and notice the many gifts to our neighborhoods and city from many, many unsung heroes.

You are probably living close to one or more of these heroes. For it is ordinary citizens from neighborhoods throughout Lexington who have worked tirelessly, unselfishly, and often unrecognized who give us all a very special gift: a better place for us to come home to, a safer neighborhood, a better neighborhood, and a better community. They’ve done all this without great fanfare or praise or pay.

Naturalist John Livingston wrote in Preservation Magazine that we have to decide if “our sense of place” (our neighborhood, our eco-system, habitat, residential environment) is worth protecting, promoting, and preserving.

He says we each play a role in protecting our place: “What creates ideal cities is the interplay of well-designed neighborhoods and the capacity of each of us to be aware of our place and of one another so we might be good citizens.”

On behalf of the FCNC, please enjoy your friends and families during this holiday season!

Walt Gaffield, President

Fayette County Neighborhood Council, Inc.