Fourth Street corridor improvements signal 'renaissance,' Lexington mayor says

jwarren@herald-leader.comNovember 22, 2013 

Recent improvements along Lexington's Fourth Street corridor are setting the stage for a revival in the west end of Lexington, government and education officials said Friday.

During a news conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Jim Gray cited several developments on Fourth Street between Newtown Pike and North Broadway, including the Bluegrass Community and Technical College's new Newtown campus; Transylvania's new athletics stadium and sidewalk improvements; and the R.J. Corman Railroad Group's railroad crossing improvements to accommodate the new two-way traffic pattern on part of West Fourth Street.

The entire West Fourth Street area is "poised to experience a renaissance" thanks a "wonderful collaboration" between the city, state, the railroad company and the two colleges that made the improvements possible, the mayor said.

The news conference was held at BCTC's new classroom building off Newtown Pike

During a brief interview afterward, Gray noted a saying by Charleston, S.C., Mayor Joseph Riley that putting a new building on a corner will stimulate the entire block, and then the whole neighborhood.

"That's what you have occurring here," Gray said. "This just magnifies Lexington's strengths as a university city ... and our competitive advantage to create jobs and opportunities."

BCTC President Augusta Julian said the new developments ultimately will "transform" to the Fourth Street area.

"It's a wonderful time ... these changes are going to make a difference to so many people," Julian said.

Other steps for the area will include development at the former site of Eastern State Hospital, plus a new multi-use trail along Newtown Pike and Loudon Avenue that will link up with the Legacy Trail.

First District Urban County Councilman Chris Ford and 2nd District Council woman Shevawn Akers said the improvements will provide "great infrastructure" and "improve the walkability and connectivity" of the entire neighborhood.

Jim Warren (859) 231-3255.

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