Fayette County’s industrious current residents and business creators are launching the area into an ever more prosperous future, building a modern economy over the established foundation that features Thoroughbreds, bourbon and basketball.
Unemployment rates are a foolproof measure of the health of a county, and Fayette has one of the lowest in the state and the nation at 3.3 percent. With new businesses continually moving to the area and existing companies growing, there’s little wonder jobseekers continue to flock to Fayette County. A skilled 21st century population is growing, while authentic history retains its seat at the table.
The Keeneland Racecourse and auction ring continue to see record numbers, bourbon distilleries continue to flourish and add new operations, and urban and county planners continue to finesse diverse growth while preserving the region’s distinct agricultural heritage.
Education remains a well established major priority. With the University of Kentucky today attracting more than 30,000 students to its downtown Lexington campus and its current construction projects topping $1.5 billion, there is good reason Fayette County has one of the most highly educated workforces in the nation.
Additionally, public schools in the Fayette County Public Schools system almost can’t be built fast enough. FCPS currently is constructing three new schools – two elementary schools and one high school – and more are in the works in the near future.
Local support for small business is a major incentive for entrepreneurs looking to hire others, innovate and spur economic growth, whether a new restaurant, fitness center, nonprofit or another high-tech firm. Regardless of their sector, business owners know they have the support of an award winning Chamber of Commerce. This year, Commerce Lexington was named “Chamber of the Year” in the large chamber category (Category 4) during the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ annual convention in Savannah, Ga. Other category finalists included chambers from New York, Florida and Washington.
“The award not only affirms that we are doing quality work in events and programs across our organization,” Commerce Lexington President and CEO Bob Quick said, “but also recognizes the efforts of many great people throughout the region working day-in and day-out to strengthen Central Kentucky.”
But once a business is built in Fayette County, people move for work and families need housing and leisure activities. Despite inventory being low – developers can barely keep up with the demand for single-family housing – the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of REALTORS (LBAR) reported major increases in sales this year.
Real estate sales by members of Lexington Bluegrass Association of Realtors totaled $1.2 billion as of summer 2016 and are another bright area of the Bluegrass economy. In the first half of 2016, single family residential sales increased 12 percent to 6,002 in 2016 versus 5,357 in the same period of 2015. Average days on market for residences decreased 18 percent from 84 days in 2015 to only 69 days in the first half of 2016.
Residents and visitors enjoy activities from partaking in the arts through vibrant entities like LexArts and Lexington Philharmonic, enjoying outdoor activities at places like the Legacy Trail, historic McConnell Springs, and an abundant parks system as well as taking in collegiate athletics events at the University of Kentucky, Transylvania University and others.
Fayette County boasts a burgeoning food and drink scene, diverse cultural attractions, frequent festivals and tours through horse country.
Also, Fayette County is a major healthcare, retail and financial center with a concentrated focus on improving its logistical accommodation to such big business. Multi-million roads projects, including the widening of a major Lexington traffic artery, New Circle Road, are underway to keep business moving in the area.
Additional upscale shopping will come with the 2016 opening of The Summit at Fritz Farm. It will include a diverse landscape of popular national chains like Pottery Barn, as well as locally owned eateries showcasing Kentucky Proud food products.
Meanwhile, Fortune 500 member Ashland Inc. recently split off its Lexington-based Valvoline specialty chemicals operation into a new publicly traded company, giving Fayette a fresh corporate headquarters for a $2 billion company.
Bluegrass business acumen continues to impress, and its lifestyle plays out within one of the desirable settings on earth. l