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Planning for Town Branch Commons Continues

Town Branch Aerial (LFUCG)

Published online May 24, 2017 8:24p

Last updated: May 27, 2017 1:11p

Increased minority business participation goals planned

Key Conversations Radio Interview with Jeff Fugate, DDA and John Hollinger, Project Manager following the story.

Mayor Jim Gray released new drawings of Town Branch Commons in March of this year. The Commons will be a park that will wind through downtown which includes a Commons area with retail space and water features.

Once completed, 3.2-mile walking, jogging and cycling trail will close the gap between the not yet completed Legacy Trial in Lexington’s East End and Town Branch trails, creating a 22-mile continuous recreational path.

Planning for the $40 million project will continue through 2017 with construction scheduled for 2018-19 and completion in 2020.



Bluegrass Community Foundation is providing the next opportunity for input during the on-going planning phase. This Friday, May 26 from 8-10 a.m. at the Plantory 501 W. Sixth Ste. 250, guest Gil Penalosa will deliver the keynote speech “From Talking to Doing: Mobility and Public Spaces’’.

S & A Strategies provided more detail through this social media post, “At the Friday event Gil will present, we’ll get an update of the Town Branch Commons project and there will also be an opportunity to ask questions. The goal of the S & A Strategies team is to engage the communities that are near the trail, those that might have specific programming interests at the common spaces and anyone who supports creation of equitable common spaces.’’

The first public meeting this year regarding the Town Branch Commons was held at a Hunt-Morgan property, specifically the Thomas Morgan House. Morgan was a Nobel Prize winning scientist who is the nephew of Confederate General John Hunt-Morgan. The Hunt and Morgan families are tied to the Confederacy and the slave trade through the operation of cotton plantations.

In a March 2017 Key Conversations Radio interview, historian Bruce Mundy said that most African Americans who are familiar with the Morgan name have negative feelings about that family and their history with enslavement. Regardless of which Morgan’s name is on the house, having a public meeting for a public improvement held there does not give the feeling of inclusion. (Mundy’s full interview is linked below)

Leaders of the project acknowledged that no one place will make everyone feel invited. “There’s going to have to be lots of opportunities for feedback and direct outreach into the community. It’s on us to make sure that we get out there,’’ said Jeff Fugate of the Downtown Development Authority in a Key Conversations Radio interview which aired April 16, 2017.

A relatively large project for the city, the number and dollar amount of contracts awarded to Black contractors and service providers will be scrutinized.

Jonathan Hollinger, Town Branch Commons Project Manager said, “It’s a big enough project that we are developing a Minority and Disadvantaged Business program that Is project specific. I will work with Sherita Miller, Minority Business Liaison for the city to develop a plan that will not only have goals, but tactics to how we’re going to achieve that.’’ (Full Hollinger and Fugate interview is below)

“Your input is critical as the trail and common areas are currently in their design phases. Gil’s knowledge will, hopefully, help to demonstrate to you the importance of resident engagement in projects such as Town Branch, Legacy and other bike lane and trail projects,’’ the S & A Strategies statement concluded.

Details:

Friday, May 29 from 8-10 a.m.

Plantory 501 W. Sixth Ste. 250

Guest Gil Penalosa of 8 80 cities will deliver the keynote speech “From Talking to Doing: Mobility and Public Spaces’’

Free coffee and donuts will be provided at this morning event. Online registration requested: https://www.bgcf.org/events

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