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Lexington Council Members Raise Questions About Downtown Linear Park Project


Lexington city leaders appear ready to move forward with plans to develop a linear park through the downtown area.  Ideas for financing the $75 million Town Branch Commons project were discussed Tuesday at city hall.  Council member Kevin Stinnett sees benefits to the plan, which includes water features and a bike-pedestrian trail.  "I think this is one of those projects that comes along once in a lifetime for our city," Stinnett said. "It's transformational for our whole downtown and it will bring a new generation of people to downtown.  It can be a destination." 

Council member Richard Moloney is skeptical. "The last thing I want to do is throw something out there and get egg on our face like we did with the Rupp Arena," said Moloney.  "I don't want to see that happen and this is the kind of project, it's a good project, it can happen.  It's just I don't see where the money's coming in to make this work." 

City officials suspended plans almost a year ago for a substantial renovation of Rupp Arena and a new convention center.  The mayor's chief of staff Jamie Emmons said there remains a plan for the project, but it is not currently being pursued.  

Meanwhile, council members are expected to vote next week on a resolution to move forward with a federal grant application for $14 million for the Town Branch Commons project.  The mayor's budget plan calls for $10 million to go toward trail construction.

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