LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Plans for a new park are underway on a piece of real estate that Mayor Linda Gorton said is a major project she has had sights on since she first took office. The city is buying 30 acres of land along the Kentucky river, giving Lexingtonians the only public access to the river in all of Fayette County.
“We are right at the water’s edge,” Councilmember Kathy Plomin said.
If all goes as planned, kayak and canoe lovers will soon have a new place to launch. The purchase fills what the city sees as a much-needed void.
“We realized that we had not done enough when it came to outdoor recreation and the opportunities afforded by getting outside and enjoying all we had to offer,” VisitLEX President Mary Quinn Ramer said.
The 30-acre property has been owned privately for decades by the Kelley family. Much of it is still undeveloped land. The $1.16 million sale is not being funded by taxpayers but instead by developer fees paid into the city’s Parks Acquisition Funds.
“We anticipate future programs such as interpretative canoe trips – geological water quality and rover ecosystem programming birding from canoes as well as sharing Fayette counties history from the river,” Director of Division of Parks and Recreation Monica Conrad said.
But don’t expect too much development. Aside from trails crisscrossing the land, residents won’t see motorboats or playgrounds. The city is considering a vendor to rent out canoes and kayaks.
“Years ago, I learned and I repeat often that Lexington, Kentucky, is the largest city in the United States furthest away from a body of water, it’s always been a fun fact to know and tell. Well, today we are going to make up for it,” Plomin said.
No opening date is set yet for the park – as there is still some work to do before it is “people-ready.”
The sale still needs to be approved by the Urban County Council.