Great cities have great parks: Gray shares vision for Town Branch Park
Think back to your best — and worst — experiences in parks and other public places, then take the survey that will help guide the design of Town Branch Park and what will happen there.
This effort to involve the public on the front end is smart, though not required: Money is being raised from private sources to pay $31 million to build and open the park.
Empty of people, even the prettiest spaces add little to a city's quality of life, which is why the 10-acre park, to be built alongside its historic namesake between Rupp Arena and the Distillery District, should be planned around activities and programs that will draw people to it.
One goal of the new Town Branch Partners organization is for all of Lexington to feel the park is theirs. Thus, the survey, which will run until June 15, and is also available in all public library branches.
Answer the survey online and you can watch a nifty conceptual animation (dog run, splash pads, stage, art, shade, sun). Estimated opening: three years from now, after the makeover of the adjacent convention center.
Town Branch Park got a $1 million boost in April courtesy of the E.E. Murray Family Foundation. Wes Murray, founding partner of Castle & Key Distillery, said the park fulfills the foundation's philosophy of seeking "unique opportunities" to change the trajectory of "a need or a cause."
In this case, the cause is making Lexington a more livable, unified and memorable city.
Enhancing the potential, Town Branch Commons, a foot and bike path, will connect Town Branch Park to other nearby parks and complete 22 miles of trails linking Masterson Station Park and the Kentucky Horse Park. Construction of the commons, already funded, begins this summer.
Thanks to all the private citizens who are working to make a reality of what promises to be a terrific public amenity not just for Lexington but also the region.