Lexington rocks out with first outdoor climbing boulders

Councilmembers James Brown and Tayna Fogle, Lexington Parks & Recreation staff, and neighbors today cut a ribbon to officially open new play features at Northeastern Park, including Lexington’s first outdoor climbing boulders.

"We are so excited to bring these unique play features to Northeastern Park for people of all ages to enjoy," Mayor Linda Gorton said. "We pride ourselves on the wide variety of recreational activities available at our parks, but it’s rare when we get to roll out an activity that’s brand-new in our city. We’re rocking out with Lexington’s first outdoor climbing boulders!"

Throughout the development process, Lexington Parks & Recreation gathered feedback from the neighborhood on what type of features they would like to see added. Overwhelmingly, climbing play features were the most desired. Parks & Recreation worked with design firm Recreation Insights and ID Sculpture, to produce the boulders. The boulders are fabricated out of glass fiber reinforced concrete. They are designed to mimic the natural rock found at nearby Red River Gorge.

"We know how important recreational activities are to people of all ages," said Michelle Kosieniak, Parks & Recreation Superintendent of Planning & Design. "As we design new play features, we focus not only on what exciting new opportunities there may be, but also what playground equipment best suits the wants and needs of the neighborhood. With the neighborhood eager for climbing features, it allowed us to investigate and offer something unique in Lexington, making this a destination park for climbers in the city. With a beautiful new playground at nearby Charlies Young Park and Thoroughbred Park across the street, the unique features at Northeastern compliment what is offered in the area."

The new play features were funded through federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The City dedicated $10 million to projects identified in Lexington Parks & Recreation’s Master Plan, which highlights needed updates in parks citywide.

"I'm excited for the families who live around Northeastern Park," said Councilmember-at-Large James Brown. "Thanks to the commitment to equity from our Parks Department, and our investment of the American Rescue Plan Funds, we now have a unique playground experience in downtown Lexington."

The renovation at Northeastern is one of many playground upgrades and redesigns across various Lexington parks funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. Updates have also been made at Gardenside, Masterson Station, Pine Meadows, Woodland, Trailwood, Meadowthorpe, Mary Todd, Duncan, and Elizabeth Street parks.

"I am so honored to be standing in this newly renovated park," said Councilmember Tayna Fogle, whose district includes Northeastern Park. "As a child I grew up playing in this area and it’s a very special place to me. I look forward to seeing our beautiful children play, have fun, and enjoy life in this vibrant environment. I also stand here honoring the life of Landon Hayes."

Northeastern Park was a favorite play location for Landon Hayes, a 10-year old boy who was tragically killed in a house on North Upper Street in February 2022. A memorial bench will be installed and dedicated to him at the park later this summer.

Nearby businesses and climbing groups are supporting the re-development of Northeastern Park, including A Cup of Commonwealth, LEF Climbing, the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition, and Martine’s Pastries.


Parks & Recreation, a division of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, oversees the programming, maintenance, and development of over 100 city parks and natural areas, six pools, five golf courses, community centers, recreational programs, and three arts venues. To find out more, follow @LexKYParks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or sign up for the email newsletter.


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