Recreation, Health and Alternative Transportation.
Envision yourself on a spirited jog from Masterson Station Park to Triangle Park, on a peaceful, shady trail unobstructed by automobiles. You arrive downtown, invigorated with exercise, and refresh yourself at an outdoor café. You then shop at small boutiques for that special gift to take home.
The Trail will provide a pleasant environment for walking, running, biking and roller-blading. The Trail will offer an alternative route to school, work, shopping, dining and entertainment, fostering more vibrant pedestrian tourism in downtown Lexington. An urban recreational trail will attract visitors and provide a necessary, but currently missing, component in Lexington’s urban renaissance. The Trail will connect downtown Lexington’s many commercial, dining, cultural, and public venues with the Convention Center and major hotels, providing a unique recreational outlet for meeting attendees.
Envision yourself standing at the banks of a spring, the same banks where stalwart settlers stood in the midst of the American Revolution and proclaimed this land Lexington and their home. You touch the limestone walls pioneer Kentuckians hand laid into frontier stations and admire restored buildings that were Lexington’s earliest industries. School children walk interpretive trails and receive an experiential lesson in local history.
Much of Lexington’s earliest history occurred along the banks of Town Branch Creek. Dry-laid stone settlers’ houses (circa 1790), an old stone mill (circa 1820), an historic rail line (circa 1830), an historic farmstead (circa 1850), and a former bourbon distillery are all still present beside the creek. The trail will connect Lexingtonians with their rich and varied history via a series of unique and historic landmarks.
Envision yourself listening to the soft gurgle of Town Branch as it winds through healthy masses of native vegetation. You enjoy whippoorwills frolicking in swaths of aromatic clover and cane. The wind tosses the long fronds of a willow tree and you notice chipmunks darting about its base and into the recesses of a dry-laid stonewall. Interpretive signage helps you understand the natural history and ecology of Town Branch.
Town Branch Trail will help restore Town Branch Creek. By making the creek a valuable public asset again, the Trail will discourage the pollution that has made the Town Branch one of the state’s unsavory waterways. Along the Trail we hope to restore native plants and wetlands to better serve wildlife, water quality, and flood control.
Community and Economic Development.
Envision yourself wondering through an open-air market while shopping from a myriad of artisans and organic farmers. You follow a long arcade of willow and cheery trees from a dry-laid stone pavilion and karst-inspired fountain to warehouses renovated into stylish loft spaces. You look further down the trail and old structures appear new again as Town Branch becomes an anchor of civic pride.
The Town Branch Trail will run through urban industrial areas and older neighborhoods that have witnessed decades of decline. By investing in this area with an attractive shared-use greenway trail, Lexington will encourage reinvestment and redevelopment that will connect with and extend the vitality of downtown.