A slew of decorative shovels stood ready for Monday’s groundbreaking for Town Branch Commons in Lexington. The hybrid trail “slash” linear park will wind through downtown for two miles.
The almost $40 million trail is fully funded. It includes federal and state grant money plus a local investment of almost $12 million. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says the funding is warranted, adding the project will, quote, “influence our city for generations to come.” “The returns that we will get on this are exponential. The returns that we get on building our brand are exponential. The returns are great,” said Gray.
Gray says in a couple of years Midland Avenue and Vine Street will be transformed to a green space friendly area with benches and water features. He says vehicle, bike, and pedestrian travel will not be greatly impacted during construction.
The overall project also calls for building a centralized park next to the new convention center. Town Branch Park Advisory Board Chairwoman Ann Bakhaus says benefits go beyond the physical transformation. “Town Branch Park will be connecting something even more powerful than that, and that is our people. The park will unite people from across the community by providing space for residents of all ages to interact with each other and meet new people,” noted Bakaus.
Fund-raising continues for the $31 million Town Branch Park, to be built next to the new convention center.