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Southland Corridor Welcomes Sign, Renewed Attention

Josh James
Southland officials unveil a new retro-influenced "Welcome to Southland" sign at the corner of the corridor and Nicholasville Road.

Drivers on Nicholasville Road won’t be missing the entrance to the Southland Drive corridor from now on.

Plans for a gateway marker for Southland Drive had been in the discussion phase for some time, but now they’ve finally come to fruition – thanks in part to a $5,000 grant from the city’s corridors commission, private sector funding, and a retro-influenced look courtesy University of Kentucky third year landscape architecture student Charlie Hall.

"This is my design, which is super weird for me to say because I never thought that one of my designs would be implemented this soon," he tells onlookers at the unveiling.

He explains the guitar fretboard-inspired background, a reference to the cluster of music shops in the area.

The sign is the latest example of corridor designers teaming up with UK – they’re also working on what’s called a “pop-up” public space to debut next year – as the area undergoes a renaissance of sorts.

"A lot of the empty spaces have filled up. We've got new buildings in a couple places that have kind of taken care of some areas that didn't have anything in it," Southland Association President Hilary Baumann says. "I think there's a little bit of a new and exciting vibe going on over here."

Developed as a strip mall in the 1950s, Southland once marked the edge of town. Today, Baumann says it’s one of the most highly-concentrated spots for local businesses in the city.

Update 12-14-16 - The following businesses donated time, materials, and expertise to the project: Fascination Design, H.E. Parmer Co., EHO Laser, TREC Construction, Baptist Health, CMC MMI, Harrod Concrete, Vulcan Material Co., Wilson Brother’s Rental, and Bryant’s Rent.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.