Great Herald-Leader editorial supporting our advocacy to clean up Lexington’s creeks

From March 21, 2009 Lexington Herald-Leader

“Clean streams are worth the price- Storm water fee will buy a better city, stronger economy”

Storm Water Fee Task Force.

The very title conjures up visions of long meetings where incomprehensible acronyms are thrown around and no one but a few lifer bureaucrats can figure out what’s going on and why it might matter. Throw in a few references to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a consent decree and it’s a recipe for adult nap time.

But it’s not. For three months a dedicated band of members of the Urban County Council and the city administration have been meeting to thrash out the intricacies of how to pay for cleaning the water that runs through Fayette County.

That’s where it gets interesting — not the fee, cleaning the water. For the water to be clean and healthy, it must be surrounded by land that’s clean and healthy. That means streams not surrounded by junk yards, pavement and abandoned industrial sites but by trees, parks and paths. Sounds like a unique urban paradise, especially when it’s matched with the exquisite Bluegrass landscape that already surrounds us.

That was the vision promoted at Thursday’s meeting by a few task force members urged on by Van Meter Pettit, president of Town Branch Trail, a group advocating for creating a greenway along Lexington’s historic waterway.

They reason that while we’re spending tens of millions cleaning up our dangerously filthy water to avoid being hauled back into court by the EPA for violating the Clean Water Act, we should push a little bit farther to create beautiful, clean places for people to enjoy being outside and near Fayette County’s streams.

That means more money, of course, a larger fee. A hard sell all the time, but particularly now.
But, ponder this question, all who want to attract better businesses and well educated, high-earning workers, who want your kids with big degrees to live here or who simply like to be outside: Which is more attractive, a place where streams hidden behind abandoned buildings, washed up tires and other debris, are so toxic you shudder when your dog gets near the water much less your child; or a community where it’s pleasant to jog, cycle or just sit and relax by small clean streams that thread through the city?

Tough choice?

From March 21, 2009 Lexington Herald-Leader