Town Branch Park launches website with community survey to receive public input

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2018) — Town Branch Park launched a new website today featuring a community survey.

The Inclusive Park Survey will gather feedback from Lexingtonians on what makes public spaces open, welcoming and inclusive of all people. The survey was developed through a grant from Blue Grass Community Foundation.

“For this to truly become downtown’s living room, the park must be designed, programmed and operated based on the needs and hopes of all segments of the community,” said Allison Lankford, executive director of the Town Branch Fund. “This survey is our first communitywide effort to listen and learn from all of Lexington about what makes a space welcoming and engaging.”

The survey can be found at www.townbranchpark.org. Hard copies will be available at all Lexington Public Library branches until June 15. Interpreter services are available upon request. By leveraging the networks of the project’s community-based partners, the group hopes to reach marginalized and often under-represented segments of the community.

Survey questions will cover how different people define and experience inclusion in public spaces and how Lexingtonians are currently experiencing local public spaces. The survey offers an opportunity to share ideas in addition to simply checking off multiple-choice questions.

The Inclusive Park Survey is part of the work of the Town Branch Park Partners, the community group tasked with ensuring that inclusion and access are integral to the design.

“The goal of Town Branch Park is to be a beautiful place for everyone to visit and enjoy,” said Lisa Higgins-Hord, assistant vice president for community engagement at UK and member of the Town Branch Park Partners. “The survey will help gather ideas from people all across Lexington for how we can approach the design and programming to create a welcoming environment. Each person is influenced by his or her personal history and experiences. Those insights will help create a richer park experience for everyone.”

The project will rely on the expertise and community input gleaned from the survey and other engagement tools. Earlier input showed that delving deeply into designing spaces that are inclusive is paramount.

For example, when Gehl Studio conducted a Public Space Public Life Survey in 2015, it found less than 5 percent of children in Lexington spent time downtown. In addition, both the Parking Lot Diaries and On The Table engagements highlighted local concerns to ensure that public spaces were even more inclusive, both in terms of the design process and programming.

The Town Branch Park Partners will create an inclusive park document that addresses recommendations for the design, programming and operations of the park. The plan also will outline a process that prioritizes meaningful engagement with residents throughout the planning phase.

Lankford suggested that people watch the video on the website first to get an idea of the possibilities and potential scope of the park. The video, created by Wrigley Media Group, can be viewed below. Partners are requesting that surveys be completed by June 15.

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