Lexington Community Planning Recognized by APA

5 min read

The NE APA’s Implementation Award commends Lexington's visionary community planning approach and implementation of their 2013 Comprehensive Plan.


Between 1990 and 2013, Lexington underwent a significant transformation. The establishment of a meatpacking facility reshaped the community, triggering an influx of diverse populations and sparking a housing crisis spanning the next two decades. To address this, Lexington initiated a comprehensive plan and transportation plan in 2013. Collaborating with JEO Consulting Group and HDR, the city conducted a comprehensive, bilingual community outreach, focusing on strategic projects aimed at reshaping the housing landscape and revitalizing community identity.


Beginning in 2013, the planning process adopted a community-centric approach. Gathering insights through design charrettes, town hall meetings, focus groups, and an online public forum, Lexington sought to assess current conditions and establish consensus on goals for effective growth. With an ambitious target of constructing 800 housing units over the next two decades (2013-2033), the plan introduced innovative housing typologies (like infill housing, townhomes, multi-generational units, and more) and addressed specific needs such as senior housing near the hospital.


Lexington encountered challenges such as evolving community perspectives, demographic shifts, and the unforeseen impacts of COVID-19. Overcoming these challenges required strategic planning and tapping into diverse funding sources including tax increment financing and federal funds. Extending collaboration beyond the city team, Lexington forged partnerships with schools, hospitals, and major employers, leading to initiatives like a construction program with schools, aging-in-place needs for senior care, and the promotion of economic development.


As the current comprehensive plan update unfolded, tangible progress since 2013 became evident. Notable achievements include aging-in-place units, the addition of 200 new units in the Southwest neighborhood and a total of over 500 units overall, the multi-purpose Lexington Field House, Plum Creek Park enhancements, the installation of a 26,000-panel solar array, and more. Exceeding the 2023 housing objective, the city enthusiastically established a new goal of another 800+ units by 2040. The ongoing success, driven by citizen feedback, highlights Lexington's drive for growth and community enhancement.


Lexington's success is a testament to community collaboration and strategic planning. This journey not only addressed immediate housing challenges, but it positioned Lexington as a viable place for growth and development as well as a desirable city to live and work.


Interested in crafting plans like the City of Lexington’s that don’t sit on a shelf? JEO’s planning team, made up of 12 planning professionals, creates plans that are actively executed and dedicated to turning visionary concepts into community outcomes.

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