Fayette County

Lexington trail extension opens along old railroad bed

Mayor Jim Gray got help from Maya Wijesiri, 3, and her mother, Wendy Wijesiri, in cutting the ribbon to open the second phase of the Brighton East Rail Trail on Monday.
Mayor Jim Gray got help from Maya Wijesiri, 3, and her mother, Wendy Wijesiri, in cutting the ribbon to open the second phase of the Brighton East Rail Trail on Monday. Herald-Leader

Lexington officials opened the first extension of the Brighton East Trail, Fayette County's first rail trail, on Monday.

The 12-foot-wide recreational trail had run a mile from Bryant Road to Pleasant Ridge Drive, through the new residential neighborhoods around Hamburg. The one-mile extension takes the trail along an old railroad bed as far as Walnut Grove Road.

The original trail, completed in 2007, has been so popular that area residents wanted the extension, Urban County Council member Kevin Stinnett said. As Stinnett, Mayor Jim Gray and council member Harry Clarke prepared to cut the ribbon on the new section, people were using it for running, cycling and taking children for stroller rides.

City officials hope to extend the trail to the Clark County line and connect it with the Liberty Park Trail.

The trail extension was financed by $450,000 in federal, state and local money. But key to the project was an easement donation, 100 feet wide and a mile long, by Marion Clark. She made the donation because she realized what a good amenity the trail would be to future development of her property, said Keith Lovan, the city engineer who heads local trail projects.

The wide easement allowed the city to preserve existing trees and to plant more trees to keep the trail shaded in hot weather.

Parking for the new trail is at Pleasant Ridge Park, 1350 Pleasant Ridge Drive.

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