Lt. Governor Crit Luallen’s Communications Office
Lt. Gov. Luallen presents $3.2 million for Town Branch Commons
Funding advances new section of popular shared-use greenway trail
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen, on behalf of Governor Steve Beshear, today ceremonially presented $3.2 million in funding to advance Town Branch Commons, a critical link in an eagerly anticipated urban trail project that will connect downtown Lexington with area neighborhoods, parks and historic sites.
“With this funding, we take another giant stride toward the realization of a shared vision,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said. “That vision is of a greenway network and linear park, threading through and uniting this community.”
“As part of that network, the Town Branch Commons linear park will promote alternative transportation by attracting droves of runners, walkers and bicyclists,” she added. “It will yield the added benefit of outdoor recreation and exercise, all of which promotes cleaner air, better public health in general, environmental awareness, tourism and business. It will be an invaluable asset for Lexington and the greater community – not just today but for generations to come.”
Lt. Gov. Luallen presented a ceremonial check representing funds from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program that were awarded through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said, “Town Branch Commons is a path to economic development, community vitality and healthy outdoor activity. It is both a bridge to our authentic history, and an inflection point that will redefine our future, improving our quality of life and growing economic vitality.”
Town Branch Commons-Midland Section will run 0.51 miles along Midland Avenue between Main and Third streets – from Thoroughbred Park to Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden – in downtown Lexington. It is part of a larger, 2.5-mile trail that will eventually connect two other segments of the greenway – Town Branch Trail and Legacy Trail.
Jeff Fugate, president of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority, said Town Branch Commons is “a big idea, but a simple one: Bring a ribbon of the Bluegrass through the heart of Lexington in the form of trails, parks, and water.”
“Great cities have great parks. Lexington should be no exception,” Fugate said.
The CMAQ grant is for design and construction of the 12-foot-wide, multi-use trail. The project also will entail reconfiguring the median, curbs and traffic lanes.
Much of the trail derives its name from the Town Branch of Elkhorn Creek, the historic stream along which Lexington was settled in 1775.
Federal CMAQ funds are for innovative transportation projects or programs aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. As such, the program complements kyhealthnow, Gov. Beshear’s aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to improve Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits in areas such as obesity and heart disease.
“To have a healthy Commonwealth, we must have clean air, and this funding helps us in working toward that goal by making walking and biking a practical alternative to short car trips,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said. “That in turn means less motor traffic, reduced emissions, cleaner air and better health.”