Funds for Downtown Lexington Park Project Get Council Review

Oct 19, 2016

Lexington Council members now have updated information about private fundraising strategies for a major downtown park project.  Blue Grass Community Foundation’s Allison Lankford offered a report on the Town Branch Park Tuesday. 


The aim is to raise $31 million over a five-year period.    Lexington Businesswoman Ann Baakus is chairing the philanthropic portion of the drive.  She expects officials with the Lexington Center to honor previous verbal agreements about land for the park.  “Cause, they know, if their word isn’t good, they got trouble with me,” said Baakus.

The park is proposed to be adjacent to Rupp Arena intertwined with a new convention center.  Baakus anticipates the lines for parkland to be ironed out once decisions are made about a convention center location. 

A second round of $180,000 in city funds is proposed to help the non-profit raise private money.  Council member Amanda Mays Bledsoe asked when will the city taper off funding for the five-year campaign.   “I just want to be very clear that we’re not continually funding at that high level without some people coming up and saying ‘Here’s what we’ve given on the private side.'  Sooner than later,” noted Mays Bledsoe.

Allison Lankford  told council she doesn’t anticipate it to be a recurring financial request.  She says the money helps cover the time and resources the foundation is devoting to the project.  ​