Fayette County

Cheapside taking on new life as downtown destination

Lexington Farmers Market will open for the season next Saturday in Cheapside Park on schedule, but farmers will have to wait a week to set up their stands in the new Fifth Third Bank Pavilion.

Construction is running about a week behind schedule on the multi-use iron and glass pavilion, said George Milligan, the city's streetscape project manager. Bad weather and underground utilities "not being where we thought they were going to be" cost crews a few days, he said.

Milligan said Marrillia Design and Construction, which has the construction contract, has done "everything in their power ... to move the project forward in a timely manner."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and opening festivities are planned for the new pavilion and redesign of Cheapside Park at 5:30 p.m. on April 16.

Lucite side panels on the pavilion have been installed, and work on the standing seam metal roof begins next week, as does setting the granite curbstones.

Fifth Third Bank donated $750,000 for the naming rights for the pavilion, which will be home to the farmers market on Saturdays and other events throughout the year, including Thursday Night Live, arts shows and festivals.

Henkel Denmark has donated landscaping for the pavilion and around the old courthouse. Trees, shrubs and flowers will be planted after the pavilion is completed.

A new fountain will be installed in the park by the manufacturer on April 22.

Sarah Buzogany, assistant manager of the Lexington Farmers Market, said that when the market opens, farmers will be selling spring greens; various kinds of lettuce; vegetable and flower bedding plants; fresh eggs; frozen meat and poultry; and bread, honey and jams.

Among changes in this year's market will be an expanded lineup of events for children.

"We're definitely excited about the upcoming season," Buzogany said. "The pavilion will give a whole different atmosphere."

On other downtown streetscape projects, work has started on new sidewalks and rain gardens along Main Street between Limestone and Broadway. Work began on the north side of the street at Limestone, heading west.

"When we get that stretch done, then we come back and do the south side heading west," Milligan said.

On the vacant CentrePointe block, the city will lay a "basic concrete sidewalk, to make walking there safe," he said.

Sidewalk construction on Vine Street begins Monday on the north side of the street, starting at Broadway. When that stretch is finished, work switches to the south side.

The downtown streetscape project is due to be "substantially complete" on Aug. 8, Milligan said.

At no time will there be more than one lane of traffic closed on Main and Vine. Those lane closings will not occur between the peak traffic hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Contractors will be permitted to work until 10 p.m., six days a week, and on Sunday if necessary. But Milligan said before any work on Sunday, "We would want to touch base with churches in the downtown area."

About Cheapside

For more information on the Cheapside Entertainment District, including how to join, call Bob Estes at (859) 648-0664.

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