Private funding of more than $5 million dollars has been pledged toward a much talked about downtown Lexington park project.
A ceremony held Monday at the site of the planned Town Branch Park celebrated the private giving so far.
Mayor Jim Gray calls the year-long effort the “largest single collection of gifts for a city project that anybody can remember.” The roughly 10-acre park will be situated in the Manchester/Cox Street parking lot behind Rupp Arena.
It will be part of the 22-mile Town Branch Greenway that winds through downtown.
While private investment will still be sought, Gray says this week’s event signals a start to the public campaign, “Now the campaign will go into higher octane, overdrive, and will engage the community in a much more vigorous way."
More private and public dollars are still be sought for the project.
Ann Bakhaus led the one-year private fundraising effort. She assured those attending Monday’s event that water features will be prominent in the park.
“Town Branch will be open the whole length of the park, all the way from Oliver Lewis, all the way up to the civic center up here. Now, it will be lower, so the kids won’t be getting in it, but it will be open,” explained Bakhaus. “Then, there will be plenty of clean water for the kids to play in.”
Plans call for construction of the greenway to begin next year with work on the Town Branch Park to start within five years. In addition to the water features, the park is expected to include a performance pavilion and a dog park, among other amenities.