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Town Branch Trail Funding Approved

Fayette Alliance

Governor Steve Beshear has delivered some long-awaited news for runners, walkers, bicyclists and proponents of alternative transportation in the Lexington area – funding with which to extend the popular Town Branch Trail by nearly another 1½ miles.

In addition, the Governor announced funding for design of yet another segment of the paved, shared-use trail, which eventually will connect downtown Lexington with area neighborhoods, parks and historic sites.

Much of the trail will wind alongside the historic stream that was integral to Lexington’s settlement in 1775 – the Town Branch of Elkhorn Creek – and it will be linked with other trails to form a broad network of shared-use, greenway routes in Fayette County.

“The funding we are announcing today is a giant step forward for the Town Branch Trail project,” Gov. Beshear said. “It also is a giant step toward the ultimate realization of Lexington’s vision of a greenway network that promotes alternative transportation with the added benefit of outdoor recreation and exercise, all of which in turn promotes cleaner air, better public health, environmental awareness, tourism and business.”

“The Town Branch Trail is going to be an invaluable asset for Lexington and the greater community – not just today but for generations to come,” Gov. Beshear said.

“The Town Branch Trail connects our history, our beautiful natural landscape and our urban environment,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. “We appreciate the state’s partnership in developing a system trails across the city.”

“An efficient transportation network relies not only on sound infrastructure, but also on engaged communities that support these important, worthwhile initiatives,” said Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock.  “Today’s announcement underscores the Cabinet’s commitment to help enhance Lexington’s intermodal system of travel and recreation.”

The Town Branch Trail project area thus far comprises six separate construction segments covering 5.8 miles from the area of Masterson Station Park on the west side, through the revitalized Distillery District and into the downtown. The first two segments have been constructed, and construction is pending for a third.

Gov. Beshear announced funding for the next two segments – identified in master plans as Phases 4 and 5 – which when completed will connect Masterson Station Park with McConnell Springs, considered the spot on which Lexington was founded.

Design of Phase 4 will begin this year, and the section is scheduled for completion in 2016. Phase 4 is 2,800 feet long and will cost $1.01 million. It will pass under a bridge that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to reconstruct in 2015 as part of a widening of New Circle Road (KY 4). Right of way will be required from a number of government agencies, including Bluegrass Community and Technical College and the Veterans Administration, plus private landowners. Utility relocation will be minimal.

Phase 5 will be designed in 2015 and should be completed in 2016. It is one mile long and will cost $5.1 million. It will require a bridge over R.J. Corman Railroad tracks and the Town Branch. No right of way acquisition or utility relocation will be required.

Gov. Beshear also announced design funding totaling $401,000 for Phase 6, which eventually will extend the trail by 1½ miles from McConnell Springs Park, through the Distillery District, to Oliver Lewis Way in downtown. Right of way acquisition will be more complicated and is contingent on the trail’s eventual alignment.

Story provided by Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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