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Town Branch Corridor Project Advancing

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Josh James
/
WUKY

Lexington’s Town Branch Commons inched one step closer to becoming a reality Wednesday with the arrival of an addition $2.7 million in federal grant funds.

Years in the planning, the combination trail and park project in the city’s core can now eye dates for construction to begin.

"We're making the jump from concept to implementation," Town Branch project manager Jeff Fugate told an audience at the government center Wednesday. "We get to start moving dirt and that is amazing and awesome and exciting."

Fugate said the new funds – along with a previous federal grant, matching dollars from the Urban County Government, plus another $10 million earmarked in the city budget – will pave the way for half of the trail portion.

"This is really the first layer of moving toward the larger project, which is once we get the infrastructure built then we can go back and start thinking about the parks and building out the amenities so it all ties together," he explains.

Planners envision the project as a network of parks linked by a greenway corridor that traces the underground Town Branch creek. The latest funds will also pay for a new, sorely-needed pedestrian crossing and signal on Vine Street near the LexTran central transit center - an area Gov. Steve Beshear characterized as an accident waiting to happen.

"Every day you can see pedestrians trying to navigate through moving traffic to get across Vine, and then when you get across it you have to climb over a low barrier divider to get into the transit center. We can do better than that," he said.

But don't expect any changes soon. Fugate says Wednesday's announcement sets the stage for a groundbreaking in late 2016.

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