Fayette County

July 4 fireworks display will now be over UK’s Commonwealth Stadium

The July 4 fireworks show over downtown Lexington in 2011.
The July 4 fireworks show over downtown Lexington in 2011. Herald-Leader File Photo.

Lexington’s July 4 fireworks display is moving to a site near the University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium.

The fireworks will be launched from a site on Alumni Drive over the stadium. The stadium and the UK Arboretum will not be open during the fireworks celebration.

People can watch the display from the parking lots surrounding the stadium.

“We think this will be a great place to watch the fireworks,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “Thanks to the University of Kentucky and to the Arboretum for working with us.”

City officials said Thursday a test fireworks display will be held at 9 p.m. Monday. The Arboretum will close to all traffic around 8 p.m. Alumni Drive between University Drive and Tates Creek Road will be closed from 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. College Way, which intersects with Alumni, will also be closed during that time.

Officials with the Downtown Lexington Corp., a nonprofit that hosts the July 4 fireworks display, said last month they had to look for a new location after they could no longer use the site they had used for more than a decade. The site, along West Main Street near Jefferson Street, is owned by RJ Corman Railroad. But Corman declined to let the nonprofit use the land for the launch site this year.

Because of the size of the fireworks display, the group needs 600 feet of clearance around the launch site. That left few places in the city’s compact downtown to launch the show, Downtown Lexington officials said. To boot, any potential site would have to be able to handle traffic into and out of the site and allow for parking.

Commonwealth Stadium already has a traffic management plan and plenty of parking.

Councilwoman Susan Lamb, whose borders the stadium and the Arboretum, said she has reached out to the neighborhoods closest to Alumni Drive and the Arboretum. Lamb said the top concern from those neighborhoods is parking on neighborhood streets during the July 4 event.

“My hope is that we will not have any negative impacts and it will end up being a positive,” Lamb said. “I have concerns about it. We have already spoken to public safety about posting temporary no parking signs in neighborhoods around the Arboretum. We have heard some concerns about parking and blocking neighborhood streets.”

Lillian Jones, who lives in the Shadeland neighborhood, said she’s not opposed to the new launch site.

“Years ago, they did it over Commonwealth Stadium,” Jones said. “It didn’t bother me at all. I liked watching it from our yard. We deal with football traffic all the time.”

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall