Fayette County

East End Renaissance Fund launched

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is launching the East End Renaissance Fund to support revitalization projects in the historic Lexington neighborhood. The community is being asked to join in the effort.

The fund will raise money to tackle some of the smaller neighborhood projects recommended in the East End Small Area Plan, a blueprint for rejuvenating the downtown neighborhood.

The Renaissance Fund will support such efforts as beautification projects, neighborhood signs, identification of historical sites and rehabilitation of housing.

East End neighborhood improvement was identified through a community process in 2007 as one of the best ways to get the city ready for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games "while leaving a legacy that outlives the event," said Laura Williams, Lexington program director for the Knight Foundation. "The community recognized the importance of this historic area with strong ties to the equine industry," she said.

The Knight Foundation is kicking off the fund with a $5,000 donation, and hopes to raise a minimum of $25,000 from the community.

The East End is "truly experiencing a rebirth" with the new William Wells Brown Community School, restoration of the Lyric Theatre, the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and several neighborhood-generated community gardens and clean-up efforts, said first district councilwoman Andrea James "The residents are taking on pieces of the small area plan to ensure its success and improve their quality of life."

Anyone interested in contributing to the East End Renaissance Fund can contact Barbara Fischer at the Blue Grass Community Foundation at (859) 225-3343 or at bfischer@bgcf.org.