The Downtown Lexington Corp. is scrambling to find a new launch site for its popular July 4 fireworks display after the owner of the longtime launch site declined this year to allow the group to use the property.
Renee Shepard, executive director of Downtown Lexington Corp., said Monday that the group has been told by the RJ Corman company, which owned the Main Street site where the downtown fireworks display has been launched for more than a decade, told the group that they could not use that site this year.
Shepard said the agreement between the downtown group and the railroad company was year-to-year. RJ Corman could opt out of hosting the fireworks display at any time. Now, the downtown group that hosts other popular downtown events such as Thursday Night Live is looking for a new site.
It hasn’t been easy.
The group needs 600 feet of clearance on either side of the launch site. In a crowded downtown, there are few properties that have no buildings or structures on it that meet those requirements, Shepard said.
Moreover, they also need a site that can accommodate a lot of traffic both at the site and near it.
“We have about 10 possible sites,” Shepard said. Shepard confirmed the group is looking at some green spaces such as the University of Kentucky Arboretum, which is off Alumni Drive between Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads.
“It already has a traffic management plan because of football games,” Shepard said. Commonwealth Stadium, home of the University of Kentucky’s football games, is across Alumni Drive from the Arboretum.
A small test fireworks launch will likely be conducted at any possible site to ensure the fireworks can be seen from as many different areas in Lexington as possible, Shepard said.
“We’re trying to come up with a suitable location for the public to view it,” Shepard said. “We are also trying to mitigate the traffic issues that will be caused.”