Lexington’s expanded trails come together at right time
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington’s efforts to expand its trail network, especially in the downtown area, is paying off at the right time.
Mayor Linda Gorton announced Thursday “trails are bustin’ out all over Lexington’s downtown,” helping meet the needs of a restless public looking for ways to safely get outside during the coronavirus outbreak.
Construction this summer on Town Branch Commons, the Legacy Trail, and Town Branch Trail completes 22 miles of uninterrupted trails.
“The trail plans we’ve been working on for decades are really coming together this summer,” said Mayor Linda Gorton. “There will be new, exciting opportunities to get outside, and get some exercise.”
The trails run through downtown, and link Lexington’s urban core to the beautiful Bluegrass beyond.
TOWN BRANCH COMMONS TRAIL
Town Branch Commons Trail is under construction downtown. The Trail will link Town Branch Trail and the Legacy Trail, creating 22 miles of uninterrupted trail. It will create a 5.5-mile loop downtown.
“This is more than a trail,” Gorton said. “It features continuous bike and walking paths. A lush green band through downtown, it will connect new and existing parks and diverse neighborhoods, and it will improve water quality.” In addition, plans for the trail’s construction call for tripling the number of trees along Vine Street and Midland Avenue.
The trail runs along Midland Avenue from Third Street to Main Street, along Vine Street from East Main to the Lexington Center, and includes a trail connector along Newtown Pike from Manchester to Fourth Street. The connector along Newtown is nearing completion. Crews are currently finishing up working on Newtown Pike and starting work on Vine Street. Construction of Town Branch Commons trail is expected to be complete in 2022.
Town Branch Commons trail was designed by SCAPE, a leading landscape architecture firm based in New York. “Through all our years of work in Lexington, we’ve been inspired by the unique karst geology of the Bluegrass region, and the commitment of citizens to reclaim Vine Street as a place for people,” said Gena Wirth, RLA, Design Principal at SCAPE. “These are unique assets we hoped to champion through Town Branch Commons – a legacy public realm that can enhance the social space of the city, while remaining firmly rooted in the Kentucky landscape.”
The $20.1 million, two-mile trail and water quality project is funded by local, state and federal funds.
The final two miles of the Legacy Trail are under construction from Fifth Street at Jefferson Street, to the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden at Third and Midland streets. It is expected to be complete by September and cost is estimated at $3.9 million.
“The Legacy Trail offers opportunities to enjoy the Bluegrass landscape that has made us world famous,” Gorton said.
The Legacy Trail is the longest of the three trails … stretching from downtown to the Kentucky Horse Park. It is the only on-road facility in the downtown loop.
TOWN BRANCH TRAIL
Work began in 2005 on Town Branch Trail, which will connect downtown to the Distillery District, McConnell Springs, and Masterson Station Park. Along the way there are historic sites, neighborhoods and parks. The trail follows the westward course of the Town Branch of Elkhorn Creek.
The 1.2-mile section currently under construction stretches from Oliver Lewis Way to Forbes Road. Construction is expected to be complete in December. The $3.8 million project includes funds to save the James McConnell House, one of the oldest structures in the Bluegrass and built by one of the pioneer founders of Lexington.
Construction on another section of the trail begins this fall. It runs past the Fire Training Center on Old Frankfort Pike and connects to Masterson Station Park.