LFUCG releases ONE Lexington Strategic Plan

Original Story by Susan Straub

Collaboration and coordination with community partners, and strengthening proven violence intervention efforts are key priorities in ONE Lexington’s new Strategic Plan released today, Mayor Linda Gorton said.

The City of Lexington worked with the University of Kentucky’s Community Innovation Lab and Cities United to develop the plan. Work began on it in late 2021. Cities United is a national nonprofit organization that works with cities to reimagine public safety.

ONE Lexington is already making progress, Gorton said. “Director Devine Carama and Community Response Coordinator Larry Johnson have only been with ONE Lexington for a little over a year, or less. Even so, they have already saved lives,” said Gorton, referring to the 50% drop this year in homicides involving people aged 13-29 when compared to last year. The plan calls for the city to strengthen support for the victims of gun violence by 30% within the next two years.

“We often see instances of gun violence that start as small conflicts,” Carama said. “We have had a huge amount of success with our intervention efforts in keeping those conflicts from growing, and we are continuing to improve our ability to intervene after gun violence occurs. Providing support to victims will prevent retaliatory acts and keep more of our residents safe.”

The strategic plan identifies goals, objectives, and next steps, which include providing professional development opportunities for collaborative stakeholders, strengthening street outreach capacity through collaboration by 50%, and engaging middle and high schools to identify students vulnerable to gun violence.

“The report provides us with some ideas to implement as we work to address gun violence,” Johnson said. “We are excited to get to work on these items and believe this work will lead to some great results for our community.”

Bryan Hains, Director of the UK Community Innovation Lab, said, “It has been a great pleasure to strengthen university/civic partnerships and collaborate on a strategic plan that will directly reduce youth and young adult gun violence in our community. I truly appreciate the hard work and dedication of Mayor Gorton and her team, the leadership of Devine Carama and Larry Johnson, and the exceptional community members who have contributed to the plan. As one who focuses extensively on community development, I am thrilled to witness the unprecedented solidarity of our community, and believe this to be an inclusive, community plan that will substantially reduce gun violence in Lexington over the next several years.

Much of the plan focuses on the need for more partnerships and community involvement. “It has been clear from the beginning that ONE Lexington needs outside support and community involvement,” Gorton said. “We know how important our community is in addressing this issue. There are folks who are already doing incredible work with our young people every day. This report calls for more of those partnerships and teamwork from people from different walks of life.”

Last week, Gorton announced the start of the ONE Lexington Gun Violence Prevention Grant program that provides small program grants to support grassroots people and organizations already involved in doing the work of violence prevention. 

Gorton and city leaders will now turn their attention to the plan’s initial and intermediate recommendations, which provide actionable steps the City and community partners can take through 2026. Some recommendations can be addressed in the short term, like increasing ONE Lexington’s outreach to diverse communities. Others, such as establishing mentoring programs in every school by July 2026, are longer-term priorities.

“I have always said that my first priority is public safety, and the recommendations in this plan will help guide us to a safer Lexington for all of our residents,” Gorton said. “We are excited to continue this work, and thank our partners at the University of Kentucky and Cities United so much for their hard work on this plan.”

The Strategic Plan can be found by visiting lexingtonky.gov/one-lexington.