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Bank gives $750,000 for downtown Lexington pavilion

Fifth Third Bank has donated $750,000 for the naming rights of a pavilion to be built in Cheapside Park adjoining the old Fayette County Courthouse.

Mayor Jim Newberry thanked bank president Sam Barnes, saying the gift represented "a shared sense of responsibility" for the community.

The Urban County Council accepted the donation at Thursday night's council meeting on behalf of the Downtown Lexington Corporation.

The pavilion will be named the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion. The bank will own the rights for 15 years and can use the facility fives time a year with no rental fee.

Councilwoman Diane Lawless said the pavilion can be used by the Farmers Market and Thursday Night Live. "People can have weddings there," she said.

The formal announcement of the gift will be made at 10 a.m. Friday at bank headquarters in the Financial Center.

Renee Jackson, executive director of the Downtown Lexington Corporation, said the foundation was established in 2006 as "a way for people to donate to the city." The largest gift previously was $5,000.

Jackson and Jessica Gies, vice president of business development for the DLC, approached Fifth Third about buying naming rights for the pavilion.

The Fifth Third donation will pay for construction, Lawless said. Money designated in the downtown streetscape plan for the pavilion now can be used for other purposes.