Town Branch Commons wins national award


The plants on Town Branch Trail help serve as a natural barrier to the road. | photo by the city of Lexington

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Although Lexington’s newest greenway initiative is still under construction, the Town Branch Commons Corridor is already gaining national attention.

The city of Lexington received a 2022 Environmental Excellence Award from the Federal Highway Administration for its work on the project. This news is just one more example of how the city is committed to creating a more connected + environmentally-mindful community.

The award, given to Lexington out of 70 entries from across the country, is the agency’s highest honor for transportation-related projects. These awards focus on work that is committed to protecting the environment through innovation + partnerships. Let’s walk through the details.

Defining the landscape

Before we dig into the developments, let’s get a little lay of the land.

  • Town Branch: Lexington’s first water source, roughly where the Town Branch Trail follows
  • Town Branch Commons Corridor: This is the all-inclusive term for space containing the parks, trails, pedestrian areas + connections to other downtown spaces. Made possible through a public-private partnership.
  • Town Branch Trail: The 1.5-mile pedestrian path that travels through the Commons from the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden to Rupp Arena.
  • Town Branch Park: The privately-funded park is set to open in 2025. Updates can be found here

By the numbers

The project received funding from six different programs including federal, state, and local sources.

  • $24 million in federal funds
  • $11.8 million in local funding
  • $7.1 million state infrastructure loan

Innovative changes

The years-long glow-up is considered a green infrastructure project for the intentional changes + additions made to benefit the environment. Here are some highlights —

  • The city planted 300+ trees downtown helping to expand the urban tree canopy.
  • Native plants have been planted to act as a natural barrier to vehicles + help manage stormwater.

Pro tips for the trail

We recommend parking at The Met, at the corner of E. Third Street and Midland Avenue, and fueling up at Manchester Coffee or DV8 Kitchen. Once you’re on the trail, you’ll get a front row seat to dozens of HorseMania horses, be guided with large directional signage, and be able to shop at the Art Carts along the way.

All segments of the trail are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Also, wait until you see this a bird’s eye view of the progress.