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Lexington leaders worry the privately-funded Town Branch Park's main entrance may require some taxpayer buy-in

Samantha Lederman

With the main entrance to downtown’s planned Town Branch Park potentially moving from Manchester Street to High Street, the city could be looking at extra costs. Lexington is seeking a federal grant, but the city might still be on the hook.

One of the selling points for the 10-acre park next to the expanded Lexington Convention Center was its private funding. But some city council members are concerned completing surrounding improvements necessary for a High Street entrance could wind up involving taxpayer dollars.

The city is seeking a federal transportation grant for the projects, portions of which could go toward the entrance. But it will require millions in matching funds.

"If we're going to have to end up putting money into this park that I never thought we were going to have to, I've got to question really are we on the right track."
Lexington At-Large Councilman Richard Moloney

But the grant would also fund improvements on Patterson and Manchester streets along with BikePed connections on Oliver Lewis Way.

As for the upgrades to High Street, 11th District council member Jennifer Reynolds stressed that the road — and its well-known dangerous curve — has seen fatalities, flooding, and collisions with poles and houses. She said safety improvements there would benefit all who use the heavily-traveled corridor.

"We have to invest in this infrastructure and applying for a grant is probably the best option that we have so that we don't have to spend over $25 million on this," Reynolds said.

But even the grant isn’t a sure thing just yet. Officials won’t know if it’s been approved until the fall.

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.