Fayette County

Proposed water tank on Legacy Trail to include restrooms, trees, bike racks

Designs for the rest area around Lexington’s Cane Run water tank include a restroom, bicycle racks, trees and other vegetation.
Designs for the rest area around Lexington’s Cane Run water tank include a restroom, bicycle racks, trees and other vegetation. Scape/Landscape Architecture PLLC

Lexington plans to spend $1.75 million to build restrooms and add trees and other amenities around a 70-foot-tall water storage tank to be built on the popular Legacy Trail near Coldstream Research Park by the end of next December.

On Tuesday, the Urban County Council approved the revamped plans for the new rest area. The tank — to be five stories tall and 200 feet in diameter— must be operational by the end of 2016.

Charlie Martin, the city’s director of water quality, said construction of the restroom and other amenities won’t begin until after the tank is finished. That probably won’t be until 2017.

Money used from savings from construction of the water tank will be used to pay for the rest area. Through design and engineering savings, the projected cost of the Cane Run tank has dropped from $36.5 million to $15 million, Martin said.

As part of a $590 million overhaul of the city’s sanitary-sewer and storm-sewer systems, the city must install a “wet weather” storage tank near the Cane Run pump station. That pump station is at the back of Coldstream Research Park, off Newtown Pike on the Legacy Trail. The tanks are used to store water during heavy rain, helping to decrease the number of storm water overflows. The city is to eight such tanks over the next several years to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency consent decree. If the city does not comply with all the deadlines outlined in the 2011 consent decree, it could face fines.

The tank has to be close to the Cane Run pump station. That means it has to be on the popular Legacy Trail, Martin said.

City officials didn’t want to put a giant storage tank on one of the city’s most popular pedestrian and biking routes without putting something around it.

“We wanted to hold ourselves to the same standard we would if we were a private developer,” Martin said.

Martin had appeared before the council in September with a preliminary design. The designs unveiled Tuesday were altered slightly but contain the same design elements —a rest room, shade trees, bike racks, a water fountain and other amenities. The Legacy Trail has little shade and no restrooms.

Martin has met with stakeholders — including tenants in Coldstream Research Park, the Blue Grass Community Foundation, the Lexington Art League and others — for nearly a year to discuss ideas to make the area around the tank a rest area and not an eyesore.

A similar-sized tank is to be built on Richmond Road in coming years, Martin said. Because that tank is likely to be next to one of the city’s busiest commercial corridors, similar parklike amenities will need to be built around it.