2017 Knight Cities Challenge Application

Project Title: : a platform for an informed civic democracy

Summarize your idea in one sentence.:

We will create a platform to help Lexington, KY citizens get informed about issues and policies moving through city government.

What are you proposing to do?:

The majority of business accomplished by city government occurs in committees and board meetings that happen during the work day, and are past their formative stages when they reach public hearing. We want to create a platform to open up both this process and our local democracy. 

To inform this platform, we will work with trained citizen journalists to attend meetings and translate what occurs into easy to understand language and graphics that can be shared with the public. This will be housed on a website, where issues that individuals care about can be tracked.

Why is this the right idea for this city now?:

As the 2016 election ends, you can feel the civic fatigue in Lexington. Local issues have been forgotten, and our city newspaper no longer has a reporter in city hall. 

Despite this, the next four years are very important to our city: 
2017: city comprehensive plan update
2018: city council and mayoral elections
2019: gubernatorial election
2020 presidential election

So it is time to lay a foundation for thinking locally in civic issues. 

We will create a way to disseminate clear, concise information about what is happening in city government, allowing us to become a more informed & engaged city.

Who will execute this project?:

This project will be executed by two nonprofit organizations: ProgressLex and UnderMain. 

ProgressLex is a non-profit non-partisan civic advocacy organization that has held convenings and city-wide visioning events and has trained citizen journalists for the past 7 years. 

ProgressLex is about to undertake a four-year project to make Lexington the most civilly and civicly engaged city in the country by 2020. 

UnderMain is a free non-profit online platform for local journalism and creative production that seeks to lift up local creative talent to address Lexington’s most pressing civic issues.