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Lexington breaks ground on first public river access, eying a fall opening

Josh James

Work has officially begun on what will become Lexington’s first public river access and park at Kelley’s Landing.

Mayor Linda Gorton says the property off Old Richmond Road and about a half hour drive from the heart of Lexington will allow visitors to travel 12 miles between locks, taking in palisades along the way.

"We figured out it would be fantastic for our Fayette County folks to have a place to put their canoes and kayaks and paddleboards into the water. You know, it's a quiet park and we're do excited," Gorton says. "We're about ready to get a master plan and open it up to people who want to come for a quiet paddle down the Kentucky River."

Right now, it’s a short tree-shrouded walk down a ramp to the water, but the city has plans to redo the entrance. Monica Conrad heads up parks and recreation. She says the next step involves lots of public input.

"We anticipate this park being a natural areas park, much like you would see at Raven Run or at Hisle," she explains. "So we're going to spend a lot of time talking to the community, engaging the community on what they would like to see in the park."

Think trailways – that’s always atop the list, she says – along with what officials expect will be an expansive list of offerings, including historical programs.

The park itself will span about 30 acres. The plan is to open this 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.