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Business and the Economy

$14 Million Federal Grant for Town Branch Trail May Bring Business Benefits

Stu Johnson WEKU News

Lexington’s success in receiving $14.1 million in federal money for a trail project through downtown could mean increased business. The award, announced this week, offers more assurance the project will become a reality.

Talk of the Town Branch Trail has been prevalent at city hall and among advocates for a number of years.  But, this federal grant puts the trail from South Forbes Street to Midland and Third in a different category. 

Dowell Hoskins Squire, Lexington Environmental Quality and Public Works Commissioner says it’s now a question of when, not if,  “Once we get a contract with the U.S. DOT, we will be under a prescribed time line of spending the dollars.”

The entire trail, expected to be about 20 feet wide and include bike and pedestrian lanes, is expected to take several years to complete.  Work is expected to begin in the spring of 2018.

Ethereal Micro-Brewery along Manchester Street is adjacent to a section of the trail route. Although not anticipating a big jump in business, brewery founder Andrew Bishop says, with a Town Branch Trail in place, improved access would be a plus. 

“The sidewalk doesn’t reach all the way down to us, so having something like this trail being able to come through, making it a little bit more pedestrian friendly, biker-friendly, is gonna hopefully improve our relations with the rest of downtown,” noted Bishop.

At one time, the project called for exposing the Town Branch Creek along the trail.  Hoskins Squire says environmental concerns made that too challenging.  But, she says the proposed park as a part of the Town Branch Commons section, is expected to have water features.  Over time, the Town Branch Trail, Town Branch Commons, and Legacy Trail are to be linked and cover 22 miles from downtown to the Kentucky Horse Park.?

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