Home » Lexington gets $14 million federal grant for Town Branch daylighting project

Lexington gets $14 million federal grant for Town Branch daylighting project

The Town Branch Commons project will build a greenway through downtown Lexington.
The Town Branch Commons project will build a greenway through downtown Lexington.

LEXINGTON, KY. (July 26, 2016) – Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government has received a $14.1 million competitive federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that will be used to complete the Town Branch Commons Corridor project. The grant was awarded by DOT’s TIGER discretionary grant program.

TBCC is a comprehensive trail, greenway and park system that in addition to providing recreation activities for Central Kentuckians, will also, according to city officials, improve transit access and reduce pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular conflicts in the area. The federal grant award will allow the city to complete the project.

The project includes resurrecting the small, spring-fed waterway along whose banks Lexington was founded and grew nearly 250 years ago. It has been buried in culverts running through downtown for decades.

The Lexington budget includes $10 million in funding for the Town Branch project. The city already had state and federal grants of around $7 million and is seeking a $5.6 million low-interest loan from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.

“This is great news for the people of Lexington,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said of the TIGER grant. “The TBCC will help connect Lexington’s urban core to its rural areas and provide enhanced accessibility to green spaces and improve mobility and safety in the area by connecting low and middle income neighborhoods to downtown Lexington and a number of important community facilities.”

Earlier this year, McConnell reached out to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on behalf of the City of Lexington. McConnell informed Secretary Foxx that the project “has the potential to address multiple overlapping community needs by developing new public green space and by connecting neighborhoods with educational institutions, and tourist, entertainment, and historical sites.”

“This is a true watershed moment for our city and our downtown,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “Thanks to Senator McConnell for meeting with us to discuss the project and for his early support of the Town Branch Commons corridor. Senator McConnell’s willingness to help secure this highly competitive grant by weighing in numerous times with Transportation Secretary Foxx and the U.S. Department of Transportation was crucial to the success of obtaining this beneficial economic development project for Central Kentucky.”

“We also appreciate the assistance of Congressman Barr and Jerry Abramson at the White House,” Gray said. “This was truly a team effort.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, whose 6th House District includes Fayette County, congratulated the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for securing a federal grant worth more than $14 million to support the Town Branch Commons Corridor project in downtown Lexington from the Department of Transportation. Congressman Barr supported the project through letters of support, phone calls to Administration officials, and working with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s office.

“The Town Branch Commons will help further revitalize downtown Lexington, bring in more visitors, and support jobs which will benefit not only the city, but also the entire region,” Barr said. “I appreciate the work of my staff and working with former Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson in the White House in support of this important project. I applaud the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and all those who worked hard to secure this competitive grant.”

Abramson is liaison for local and state governments for the Obama Administration.