Town Branch Commons

A transformative public-private park and trail system that traces the historic Town Branch Creek through downtown Lexington.

Project Overview

Town Branch Commons will be a strip of Bluegrass running through downtown Lexington. This winding park and trail system will roughly follow the path of Town Branch, Lexington’s first water source, which is located in a culvert under modern-day Vine Street. The system will include continuous bike and walking paths, a lush green band through downtown, connect new and existing parks, and improve water quality. It will link 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 Town Branch Park, 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.

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

  • Town Branch Trail  (City of Lexington project) is a dedicated bike and pedestrian path running through Town Branch Commons, running the length of Midland Avenue and Vine Street to the front of Rupp Arena. The City of Lexington, is managing this first phase of construction, which is fully funded by public resources.
  • Town Branch Park (Town Branch Fund project) is the signature park at the western most part of the Town Branch Commons. This signature element is being funded by private donors committed to the success of the park, 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 will be the hub of a citywide trails system, closing the gap between our downtown parks and two major trails. Town Branch Commons Trail and the new Newtown Pike 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 5.5 miles long. Once on the path, users will be able to 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 Trail  is funded by a diverse array of federal and state grants that leverage local dollars. This includes 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 will run through the Town Branch Commons along Midland Avenue and Vine Street. The goal is 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 Avenue 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. We are able to provide all of these amenities along the north side of the street without losing any travel lanes for cars. The project will simply narrow some lanes, shift them south, and reallocate 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 broke ground July 2, 2018. Since then the city has been preparing for the construction of the publicly funded trail. Utilities have been relocated, right-of-way acquired, and construction documents are complete in preparation of trail construction.  Due to shared funding sources and federal grants, the Town Branch Commons trail, which runs along Midland Ave. and Vine St., will be constructed concurrently with the Town Branch Trail Connector along Newtown Pike and the completion of the Town Branch Trail  Phase 6 through the Distillery District.

Trail construction is anticipated to begin by spring 2020 following federal reviews and permit approvals expected this fall. The trail is expected to be complete in 2022, with portions of the trail opening throughout 2021. The Town Branch Commons trail and the Town Branch Connector along Newtown Pike will be one construction package advertised in fall 2019. 

Stay up to date on the latest related to the trail's construction activities by visiting the construction updates page.