Lexington’s Town Branch Trail Receives Financial Shot in the Arm from the State

Sep 16, 2014

Left to Right: Keith Lovan-Lexington Engineer, Shane Tedder-UK Sustainability Director, Van Meter Petitt-President Town Branch Trail, Incorporated
Credit Stu Johnson / Weku News

A recreational trail project with historical significance in Lexington is moving forward.  The governor Tuesday gave the organizers of the Town Branch Trail a big financial boost.  

Using Lexington's birthplace, McConnell Springs as the backdrop, Governor Steve Beshear handed over to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray a replica of a $6.5 million check.  "These greenways encourage alternative transportation and outdoor recreation and exercise, which in turn promote cleaner air, better public health, environmental awareness, tourism, and business," said Beshear.

The Town Branch Trail is a phased project.  Two miles of the state supported portion have been completed.  The finished trail will extend to Oliver Lewis Way in downtown Lexington.  Town Branch Trail Incorporated President Van Meter Petitt admits there's difficult work ahead.  "No, when it's built, it's a done deal.  But, I think there is every indication that this is gonna proceed as well as it can, understanding that this is a very old industrial corridor and more will be revealed as we proceed," said Petitt.

Petitt says Town Branch Trail is a complicated project that's taken an enormous amount of cooperation by innumerable people and property owners.

City engineer Keith Lovan says completion of all six phases of the Town Branch Trail will require some creativity in construction.  "Well, one of our biggest challenges is the trail is gonna go on top of the old landfill and then we've got to bridge the R.J. Corman rail line and we've got to bridge town branch. So there's gonna be the major construction components of this trail," said Lovan.

Governor Beshear says he hopes to see most of Town Branch Trail completed by the time he leaves office at the end of 2015.  Van Meter Petitt says the entire vision for the project calls for extending the trail from Oliver Lewis Way through downtown to the Isaac Murphy Memorial Garden, which is currently under construction.