Lexington Council Pushes For Trail Into New Distillery District

Aug 20, 2013

Lexington's working to convert abandoned distilleries such as this one into entertainment, dining and drinking establishments.
Credit Travis Estell / Flickr, Creative Commons

Lexington’s city council hopes to accelerate progress in its new downtown distillery district.  Lexington’s new distillery district, located along Manchester Street, already features a number of entertainment, arts, and cultural attractions.  Still, some council member worry the pace of development is too slow.  So, a council committee urged the city to accelerate work on the Town Branch Trail.  Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says the foot-and-bike path should be extended into the distillery district as soon as possible.

“That was part of what went on in the discussion was the Council said, ‘no more delay,’ we want to do the trail and I mean that’s the point of this discussion was to say ‘let’s move forward,” said Gorton.

As proposed, the trail would run from Masterson Station Park, along Town Branch Creek, through the distillery district and into downtown Lexington.  Also on the drawing board is a connection linking Manchester Street and Broadway, and a beautification effort throughout the district.  Tied to the distillery district is a resurrection Town Branch Creek, which now flows underground.  While admirable, Council member Ed Lane argues easing access to the distillery district must be the council’s priority.

“I still say that the top priority ought to be how to connect the distillery district to downtown because it’s gonna be very difficult to get other investment, if you can’t show how that’s gonna work,” added Lane.

The distillery district is situated near the so called Rupp Arena district. Planning Commissioner Derek Paulsen says both projects should improve the neighborhood’s cultural and economic life.

“It’s important to think about both projects and this is not taking money from one or the other.  This is really trying to find a way to make sure they are integrated, so that the one helps the other,” explained Paulsen.

The Council Committee plans to review the matter further at its October meeting.