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University of Kentucky's 'Alumni Commons' comes to life

The University of Kentucky is celebrating the official unveiling of Alumni Commons, a portion of Rose Street that’s been transformed from a heavy traffic corridor into a five-acre park and meeting area primed for outdoor classes, get-togethers, and other university events.

The section of Rose Street between Columbia Avenue and Huguelet Drive has been shut down to traffic for a while now, but the project of creating a new public space is only now coming to fruition.

Jill Smith is with the UK Alumni Association, which put $3 million toward the project. She says the pedestrian corridor features, "a dedication mall that symbolizes how we feel about our alumni who have come before us at the University of Kentucky, some blue lighting that is really spectacular especially in the evening, swigs where people can gather, meet and talk, also terraced seating similar to an outdoor theater."

That’s along with a water feature, umbrellas, picnics, tables, and Adirondack chairs.

"You think about Rose Street as a multi-generational center point of campus," Smith said, "and it really is the main artery of our campus."

On the back of the dedication wall is a quote from the UK fight song, “Ev’ry Wildcat Star Will Shine” — a sentiment that builders hope will speak to alumni, students, and future Wildcats.

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.