Construction crews begin work this morning on a culvert in a downtown Lexington neighborhood. It signals another small step in a massive roadway extension and community revitalization project. It may not sound like major construction, but work on a new culvert along DeRoode Street does mean progress on the Newtown Pike Extension Project. A sizeable portion of DeRoode Street will be sealed off through summer. It will likely complicate travel to Nathaniel Mission…still Director David McFarland says the mission will remain open.
“Nathanial Mission remains open providing ministry to the people on the margins of the margins as we have since 1935 in Davis Bottom,” said McFarland.
Access to the mission is still possible from Broadway and Maxwell Street.
McFarland says the biggest impact may be felt by residents of Irishtown. He says over four hundred people live in that neighborhood and many receive mission services. But their numbers have been shrinking and, in response, the mission has expanded the region it serves.
“As the population of the neighborhood decreased, primarily we believe through the affects of the project, we’ve expanded to a countywide basis. So, we’ve extended our ministry to all of Fayette County,” added McFarland.
When work began about five years ago, the estimated cost was 46-million dollars. Eventually, it will force the long standing Nathaniel Mission, which serves low income residents, to move. However, Director David McFarland has no timeline….
“Our goal is that when we have to re-locate, that the mission remainsopen through the entire process and that ministry continues. That if we leave our current location on a Friday we open up somewhere new on a Monday with no interruption to services at all. That would be our goal,” said McFarland.
Eventually, the Newtown Extension Project could bring commercial development, a new park, and some 100 housing units into the neighborhood.