While Santa has been busy reading many letters and doing his best to grant every child's wish, we hope he has a little cheer -- and magic -- left for a few more wishes.
For the second straight year, we had one wish come true -- the city of Richmond worked to open parking spots around City Hall for those visiting downtown on nights and weekends. In 2017, we hoped to see Berea College and other work-study colleges removed from having their endowments taxed.
Here is our letter to Santa -- and government officials -- across the county, state and nation.
• For the third straight year, we wish Madison County's leaders and policy makers can create a plan to help tackle the drug epidemic and overcrowding of the Madison County Detention Center. This year, the fiscal court voted to approve a property tax increase to build or expand the jail. However, citizens recalled the effort. This came a year after citizen's voiced concerns about the government being on the hook for a healing center, which would have allowed some of those convicted on drug charges to receive substance abuse treatment in lieu of a traditional jail sentence. Despite both of these proposals being denied, the jail continues to be overcrowded. It's time for all -- government leaders on the state and local level along with police, prosecutors, judges and citizens -- to take a hard look at what we can do to alleviate the overcrowding situation. We need new ideas quickly as our county's budget is being drained by the jail and having to send countless inmates to other facilities.
• We wish developers hoping to revitalize a downtown Richmond icon, Glyndon Hotel, can truly accomplish their vision. Partners Rodney Davis and Bryan Kirby presented the idea to city leaders in September. When the duo originally presented the idea, they introduced their plan to turn the space into a boutique hotel that included a bar, lobby, 35 rooms for guests and pilot brew system to make craft beer and ciders. "This is something that would change downtown Richmond, in my mind, in a way that nothing else will be done," Davis said. The project will require a private-public partnership as David and Kirby have asked the city to help in effort to acquire funding. We hope leaders realize the potential of this project as it could bring life to the numerous empty spaces in downtown.
• For a second year, we wish our state and national leaders can come together for the good of Kentucky and the nation. Following a heated election cycle, it seems things didn't cool off in Frankfort or Washington. In our nation's capitol, it seems we've lost our focus on what really matters -- working for the citizens of this great county. However, it seems times might be changing here in Kentucky. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican legislative leaders have been saying the right things about working together. This makes us hopeful especially with tough decisions coming in the budget session. We hope partisan politics can be pushed to the side. We must all work together, stepping across the aisle, to accomplish real change and put our state and country on the right track again.
No matter what happens though, we wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!