Town Branch Commons History

Town Branch Commons is a transformative public-private park and trail system that traces the historic Town Branch Creek through downtown Lexington. It was designed to be a strip of Bluegrass running through downtown. This winding park and trail system roughly follows the path of Town Branch, Lexington’s first water source, which is located in a culvert under modern-day Vine St. The system includes continuous bike and walking paths, a lush green band through downtown, connecting new and existing parks, and improved water quality. It links our city's two major trails, Town Branch Trail and the Legacy Trail, giving us 22 miles of uninterrupted trail, connecting downtown to our world-famous rural landscape.

Town Branch Commons is more than a beautiful streetscape and park system through downtown. It is...

  • A strip of history running through our city center
  • A connector of neighborhoods, people, and public spaces
  • Green infrastructure that improves water quality and our urban ecology
  • A transportation network that can be used for far more than just recreation
  • A world-class park with  diverse recreational, educational, arts, & environmental programming
  • A huge step forward for our community’s public space
  • A centerpiece of our community that will be cherished for decades


TBC aerial

Town Branch Commons is all-inclusive of the Gatton Park on the Town Branch, Town Branch Trail, immediately adjacent parks, pedestrian spaces and connections to other downtown parks/plazas/etc. This comprehensive system is made possible by a public-private partnership between the City of Lexington and the Town Branch Fund.

Two major projects are underway by the city and our private partners. Project components and responsibilities are: 

Town Branch Commons Corridor  (City of Lexington project) is a dedicated bike and pedestrian trail running through Town Branch Commons, the length of Midland Ave. and Vine St. to the front of Rupp Arena. The City of Lexington managed this first phase of construction, which was fully funded by public resources. The corridor was completed in October 2022.

Gatton Park on the Town Branch (Town Branch Fund project) is the signature park at the westernmost part of the Town Branch Commons. This signature element is being funded by private donors committed to the park's success, and efforts are being led by the Town Branch Fund. Learn more about the status of the park by visiting their website.

The Trail

Town Branch Commons is the hub of the citywide trails system, closing the gap between our downtown parks and two major trails. Town Branch Commons Trail and the new Newtown Pike Town Branch Trail Connector will circle downtown’s south side to connect to the Legacy Trail on the north, providing a loop within the downtown core approximately five and a half miles long. Once on the path, users can access 22 continuous miles of dedicated walking, jogging, and cycling trails connecting downtown to our world-famous rural landscape traveling north and west within Fayette County. Future plans include bike/ped trails from all corners of our county connecting via the Town Branch Commons in the downtown core.

Map: Downtown Trails

Town Branch Commons Corridor was funded by a diverse array of federal and state grants that leveraged local dollars. This included a $14.1M federal TIGER Grant, $3.6M federal CMAQ Grant, $2.9M federal TAP Grant, $7.1M Kentucky Infrastructure Loan, and $11.8M of local dollars.

Town Branch Trail runs through the Town Branch Commons along Midland Ave. and Vine St. The design goal was to bring a bit of the bluegrass into the downtown core by incorporating lush native plantings and numerous trees along its route. Iconic limestone walls have inspired the inclusion of modern stone walls providing seating and a barrier between adjacent vehicular traffic. The trail is completely separated and buffered from adjacent vehicular traffic, making it welcoming and safe for all users.  Within the dense downtown core, the trail separates bikers from pedestrians. As it travels along Midland Ave. the walkers and bikers are combined for a different experience. Water is featured along the path in interactive fountains and planting areas to collect stormwater. The city provided all of these amenities along the north side of the street without losing any car travel lanes. The project simply narrowed some lanes, shifted them south, and reallocated this space to the north side of the street to provide room for the Town Branch Commons improvements.


Vine Street renderings
      Vine Street 
Midland Renderings
      Midland Avenue 

Trail Construction

Town Branch Commons Trail broke ground July 2, 2018.  Due to shared funding sources and federal grants, the Town Branch Commons Corridor, which runs along Midland Ave. and Vine St., was constructed concurrently with the Town Branch Trail Connector along Newtown Pike and the construction of the Town Branch Trail  Phase 6 through the Distillery District. Construction was completed and opened to the public in October 2022.