Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear donned helmets to ride bikes with a throng of others Sunday in officially opening Lexington's new place to play.
It's the $10 million Legacy Trail, a 12-foot-wide, 12-mile-long paved biking, walking, art and interpretative trail stretching from the Kentucky Horse Park to the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden at Third Street and Midland Avenue.
"Wow, what a beautiful day to be here in Fayette County and in Lexington to celebrate another addition of the things that make this place so special," Beshear said to a large crowd at a ceremony along the trail at Coldstream Park.
The program also featured Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry and U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, who said he would like to see other communities in Central Kentucky connect to the trail.
The portion that opened Sunday runs from the North Lexington Family YMCA at 381 West Loudon Avenue to the Horse Park.
A project of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the trail is a public-private venture using local, state and federal funds. The Blue Grass Community Foundation provided community and financial support, and project oversight.
Beshear noted that the trail was opening two weeks before the start of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and predicted that visitors in town for the Games would enjoy it along with local residents.
"The Legacy Trail puts Lexington on the map in the cycling community as a city with one of the best arrays of off-road trails in the country," Newberry said. "We are becoming an international travel destination for cyclists, who come here for our world-class scenery."
Dan and Lori Hancock of Lexington brought their children — Veronica, almost 5, and Warren, 2 — to experience the trail.
"It's a long trail, and you don't have to worry about cars," Dan Hancock said.
John VanWilligen, a retired anthropology professor at the University of Kentucky, said he used to ride a bike to commute to work.
"This trail is a wonderful place to cycle," he said.
Beshear said he has ridden bicycles since he was a boy in Dawson Springs in Western Kentucky.
He challenged reporters to accompany him on the trail, but there were no takers.