New Entrance Sign for Historic Southland Area Completed

The Southland Association, UK students and Corridors Commission partner to create a bold new entrance gateway sign for the Southland Drive area

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 12, 2016) -- There’s a lot of new and old coming together on Southland Drive area in recent years.  Many area revitalization projects and events both large and small have been organized by the Southland Association, a Community Service Organization with both individual and business members.

Creating the new Southland District entrance sign is the most recent effort of the Southland Association with the expectation of increased further investments and attention for the district.

“What is so exciting about this project is that a small $5,000 grant from the City of Lexington’s Corridors Commission was able to leverage private sector funding,” said Councilmember Bledsoe, 10th District Councilmember and member of the Corridors Commission.  “The Corridors Commission has the task of beautifying our major roads that come in and out of town, beautifying our front door. This sign will make a huge impact for one of Lexington's busiest corridors.”

With a 50% match from the Southland Association and the Corridors Commission Grant, the sign was completed on a very tight budget of $10,000. The Corridors Commission Grants are intended to expand on the work of the Commission with plantings, fences, or artwork so that the City of Lexington incentivizes well-planned entrances that foster an environment of economic vitality and furthers community investment.

With the Southland Association board’s approval and support, Associate Professor Ryan Hargrove of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Landscape Architecture used the sign project to create real-world experience for his fall semester students.

For the design phase, each student in Hargrove’s class prepared a unique proposal for the entrance gateway sign. Southland Association board members, along with local government officials, Baptist Health and Associate Professor Hargrove reviewed the proposals and selected one for installation. The selected design was proposed by student Charlie Hall.

Hilary Baumann, Southland Association board president and owner of Fascination Design, donated her professional services during several phases of the project, including providing guidelines to the students and customized lettering used in the final design.

H.E. Parmer Co. as well as Chris Early of EHO Laser, a metal fabricator out of Bowling Green with deep roots and family in Lexington, assisted with the material selection and construction. The sign was built in sections and brought up on a flatbed truck for installation.

Once in Lexington, TREC Construction placed the sign on the concrete foundation which had been completed earlier this fall by the Landscape students.

“Being a University City what an awesome opportunity to get to use our resources from the University of Kentucky” said Bledsoe. “The project leveraged resources from the University of Kentucky, giving students firsthand experience with construction, neighborhood involvement, and seeing a project come to life. Being right across the street from the University, now students will be able to look at their work that will have a lasting impact on the area.”

“This gorgeous sign has turned out better than anyone initially imagined it could.” said Baumann, “The quality and construction, the speed of implementation, and ability to stay on a tight budget was impressive.”

There were also many other businesses that donated time, materials and expertise to the final project and made this possible. Baptist Health, CMC MMI, Harrod Concrete, Vulcan Material Co., Wilson Brother’s Rental and Bryant’s Rent-all to name a few.

The new sign is located at the corner of Southland Drive and Nicholasville Rd. The artistic design was inspired by the frets and strings of a guitar and highlights the rich music culture and eclectic mix of small businesses in the area.