Fayette County

Proposed Town Branch Park gets boost from federal arts grant. Find out what it’s for.

A proposed 10-acre park slated for downtown Lexington got a big boost last week after it was awarded a $45,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The $45,000 grant will be used to build a proposed amphitheater in the Town Branch Park adjacent to the Lexington Convention Center and Rupp Arena complex.

Town Branch Fund, the nonprofit raising money for the park, will contribute an additional $50,000 for the design of the amphitheater. That money will help SCAPE, a landscape architecture firm working with local arts groups to develop the stage and performing arts space, according to the Town Branch Fund.

“This effort not only has a significant visual impact on the park, it is an important step as we continue to advance the park’s overall programming plans and examine issues related to revenue generation,” said Allison Lankford, executive director of the Town Branch Fund.

The proposed amphitheater is just one of many planned features in the park. Plans also call for interactive water features, art installations, a dog park, trails and a children’s play area.

Picnic with the Pops announced in July it would give $1.2 million toward the construction of the outdoor performing arts venue. Plans at that time called for a 5,000 seat venue. In July, fundraising for the downtown park was a little over $7.2 million. Officials have said they won’t start construction until they raise $22 million of the projected $30 million cost.

The proposed site plan for Town Branch Park designed by Scape Studio, a landscape architecture firm in New York.

This is the second NEA grant awarded to the park in less than a year. In May, the park received a $100,000 grant that will pay for artists to develop interactive art geared toward youth. That project is called InterACT in Town Branch Park.

A start date for the construction of the Town Branch Park has not been announced. Construction can’t begin until the completion of the renovation of the Lexington Convention Center sometime in late fall of 2021.

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington D.C.