LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2018) — The University of Kentucky was named Public Policy Advocate of the Year by Commerce Lexington last week. It was another example of UK’s commitment to working, in partnership, in creative ways to advance the missions of the university and the citizens of Lexington.
The award recognized the potentially historic land swap approved by the UK Board of Trustees in December, which would take place between the university and the city of Lexington.
The swap would provide land in and near the Coldstream Research Campus, which the city could utilize for industry recruitment and economic development. Right now, Lexington officials have very little land available for development within the Urban Service Boundary. The state of Kentucky recently approved the swap. Lexington’s Urban County Council is expected to consider it in the coming weeks.
UK would receive formal control from the city of more than 13.5 acres of roads in and near campus, including Rose Street, Hilltop Avenue, and part of Woodland Avenue. Formal control of a number of roads would allow the university to further invest in safety measures and transportation planning in partnership with the city. For UK, this move would, potentially, create internship and employment opportunities for our students, many of whom want to stay in Lexington post-graduation. This is increasingly important as we strengthen our role as the commonwealth’s workforce development partner.
Lexington and UK are inextricably tied together, both in proximity and, in many ways, in vision. The expectation is that the land swap—like many other partnerships—will create shared benefits and progress for our community.
Last week, President Capilouto wrote about a recent graduate, Jake Ingram, who began his career at Space X, pioneering ways for us to put the first man or woman on Mars. He asked: “how does Kentucky, whether in space or on the assembly line, become the creator of ideas and the assembler of parts? Those questions — and their answers — will require us to rethink how we provide education and contribute to the success of our economy.”
Investments in education and partnerships that support economic development allow Kentucky companies to not only create the jobs, but also to expand industries that keep students like Jake in Kentucky. That’s the power of collaboration on behalf of a shared vision.