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City News

News Review
SCAPE selected to design Town Branch park downtown
Posted Date: 2/5/2013 7:30 AM

SCAPE / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE is the winner of an international competition to design Town Branch Commons, a new park envisioned for downtown Lexington.

“This plan has the extraordinary potential to call upon our rich, authentic history, and link our world-class rural landscape to our dynamic urban core,” Mayor Jim Gray said. Top landscape architectural firms from around the world were among the competing firms.

The winning design integrates history, geology, and ongoing development initiatives into a thread of new public spaces along the path of Town Branch as it weaves through Downtown. Lexington was named on the banks of the creek in 1775.

“SCAPE is so thrilled to be a part of this exciting initiative to revive Town Branch, make new connections downtown, and improve the quality of life in Lexington,” said Kate Orff, founder of the firm, which is based in New York. “We’ve been inspired by the realities and conditions on the ground and by the potential of water to inform the design of new urban landscapes.” Orff said the firm looks forward to the opportunity to work with citizens and neighborhoods.

The winner of the invited design competition was chosen by a five-person jury, including architects, a developer, the director of an art museum and an editor of an architecture publication.

“The jury had five excellent choices, but SCAPE clearly was above the competition,” said Jeff Fugate, President and COO of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority, which sponsored the competition. The Authority’s Board of Directors approved the winning entry today. EHI Consultants of Lexington is also working on the project.

“As a jury, we felt inspired and excited by the breath of the designers’ vision, while we felt confident that they would be able to implement their plan,” said Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, who chaired the jury.

Town Branch Commons was first conceived last year as part of the Arena, Arts and Entertainment District, which includes a plan to reinvent Rupp Arena. “The plan for Town Branch Commons is a long-range plan,” Gray said. “Getting our financial house in order comes first. That’s what we’ve been working on. But good plans are essential. That’s what this represents. We will need private funding sources. But it will happen. It’s just too compelling.”

The winning design along with the four other submittals will be on display at the Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main St., through Feb. 22. The community is encouraged to visit any time or during Gallery Hop on Feb. 15 to see the concepts and give feedback. Over the next six months, the winning team will work with the Downtown Development Authority and the city to develop the winning concept. There will be several opportunities for the public to be involved in the planning.

For more information and updates throughout the master plan process visit www.townbranchcommons.com.