A Green Connector of People and Places

Lexington is aspiring to create a people-first, family friendly downtown that is welcoming to all. Reimagining the Civic Commons will provide a foundation for this city’s progress for years to come. Lexington’s work centers on Town Branch Commons, a two-mile ribbon of trails and greenspace currently under construction. It will connect neighborhoods and downtown through the central business district. This urban park and trail system will follow the path of Town Branch, Lexington’s first water source. When complete, it will include continuous bike and walking paths, connections and improvements to a series of existing parks and one entirely new signature park. In addition to improving water quality, Town Branch Commons will connect two major existing trails, linking urban and rural areas through an uninterrupted 22-mile system.

"Now more than ever our community is relying on our public spaces for our physical and mental well-being. Equitable access to quality parks, trails, and other green spaces has always been a goal for Lexington, and our participation with Civic Commons will allow us to explore more ways to reach that goal."
–Monica Conrad, Director Parks and Recreation, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government

Lexington: Reimagining the Civic Commons

Lexington’s efforts will focus on three major civic assets:

Charles Young Park
This city park, named to the National Register of Historic Places, is located within Lexington’s historic East End neighborhood. It sits directly on Town Branch Commons. Here we will explore how to build upon recent successes within the park, and those demonstrated by a nearby two-year pilot project, SplashJAM, that demonstrated the neighborhood’s strong demand for safe, fun, easily accessible water play. New play features for children and areas for adults to stay and socialize will be studied as potential future enhancements. We will plan how to reinvent the park in a way that meets the needs of current users, and attracts new users in hopes of strengthening community and adding significant value to the East End neighborhood that surrounds the park.

Phoenix Park
This city park is centrally located in downtown along the Town Branch Commons, and is directly connected to the Central Library. Here we will explore a plan for temporary installations and programming in hopes of offering new and improved opportunities for play, learning and connectivity. Studies will focus on turning this space into an extension of the city’s Central Library, which is also in the midst of planning for future renovations. This initiative will provide an opportunity to determine what works best for a more permanent solution to reposition Phoenix Park into a family-oriented public space for all in the years to come.

Town Branch Park
Through parks and trails, our civic commons will link our urban core to the unparalleled beauty of our Bluegrass countryside. A key component of the Town Branch Commons, Town Branch Park is a crucial link for the city’s downtown trail systems. Its planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance are led by a private entity dedicated to transforming nine acres of asphalt into an unprecedented signature park in the heart of downtown. And the future park will become a living room for the Lexington community with world-class design and programs, creating a greener, more walkable, bikeable and beautiful city center that reflects the culture and welcoming spirit of the city.

In Lexington, we are excited about the Town Branch Commons and our series of connected parks. We believe in the power of quality public space to bring us together and enrich our city.

A Collaborative Effort


  • Blue Grass Community Foundation


  • Chief Administrator’s Office, City of Lexington
  • CivicLex
  • Community Ventures
  • Downtown Lexington Partnership
  • Lexington Division of Parks and Recreation
  • Lexington Public Library
  • North Limestone Community Development Corporation
  • Office of the Mayor
  • Town Branch Park, Inc.
  • Town Branch Trail, Inc.


  • The JPB Foundation
  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • William Penn Foundation