The one-acre Phoenix Park in downtown Lexington will be packed with activities during June and July thanks to a $150,000 grant.
Phoenix Forward, a consortium of downtown groups that include the city’s parks and recreation department, the Lexington Public Library and the Downtown Development Authority, is hosting events in the park most days this summer. A kick-off party will be held Saturday.
“The idea is to add more programming and to make the whole area more vibrant and welcome to everyone,” said Anne Donworth, development director for the library. The front door of the central branch of the Lexington library opens into the park, which is at East Main Street and South Limestone.
Every Tuesday evening, West Sixth Brewery will host a beer garden. Thursday night will focus on family fun night, with bounce houses, inflatables and face painting. Family fun night will augment Thursday Night Live, a weekly concert in Cheapside Park, just a few blocks away.
From 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday in June and July, there will be other family-friendly activities, including performances from the Lexington Children’s Theatre and the Cincinnati Circus; inflatables; and arts and crafts. Also on Saturdays, the Downtown Lexington Corp. , which produces Thursday Night Live, will host an artists market.
The programming is in addition to other improvements in the park.
Recently, the city’s parks department and Anderson Communities, which owns the nearby Park Plaza Apartments, teamed to open a dog park in Phoenix Park. It’s the only dog park in downtown.
Donworth said the $150,000 will help expand the library’s programming. On the second floor of the Main Street library, there will be a discovery and play lab with science and engineering-related activities for a wide range of ages. There will be free family movies, games and other activities on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
“People can come to our movies or to our game days and then go outside for our beer garden on Tuesdays or family fun night on Thursdays,” Donworth said.
The $150,000 also will help pay for some minor changes to the park including adding some additional seating and lighting.
Ethan Howard, project manager for the Downtown Development Authority, said the idea of the new programming is to draw more people to the park. Howard and others have worked with Donworth for the past six months to develop the two-month schedule.
Urban parks with few activities can be underused and often underappreciated, Howard said.
Phoenix park is often a popular place for people who are homeless. Donworth said the Phoenix Forward project wasn’t intended to drive certain groups of people out. It’s to make the urban park more inviting to everyone, she said. A group that feeds the homeless will be able to do so on Monday nights, when there is no evening programming in the park, she said.
“This is to make sure that everyone feels welcome here,” she said.
To see a full list of activities in Phoenix Park go to its Facebook page, Facebook.com/PhoenixForward.
If you go:
What: Phoenix Forward Kick-Off Party
When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Phoenix Park, 100 E. Main St.
To see a full list of activities this summer in Phoenix Park go to its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PhoenixForward