Lexington’s Downtown Lakes and Waterways

A satirical “Lake Centrepointe” rendering. Centrepitte.

Political blog Barefoot & Progressive (B&P) recently posted about a “crowdfunding campaign to build ‘Lake Centrepointe’.” B&P was highlighting the independent, crowdfunding campaign to create a “people-made oasis of calm in the middle of the city [with] opportunities for sailing, swimming, fishing – or doing nothing at all.”

The B&P article didn’t delve into the history books, but a similar proposal was actually made by developers in the 1980s (though B&P has previously mentioned the subject of Lake Lexington).

Rendering of Lake Lexington, proposed in the 1980s. Barefoot & Progressive.

Lake Lexington would have created a visible and usable water feature of the historic Town Branch. I’ve made mention of this in my forthcoming book, Lost Lexington, which will be released in November:

[Lake Lexington] would have been a largely rectangular lake in the area roughly bounded by the Jefferson Street viaduct to the east, Main Street to the north, what is now the Oliver Lewis Way Bridge to the west and Manchester Street to the south. Developers of this proposal envisioned having Rupp Arena reoriented toward the new lake. A few slips included in the design suggested the possibility that sailboats, canoes or even some motorized vessels might take to Lake Lexington.

But just because two lakes (one imaginery and one not produced) haven’t materialized doesn’t mean that something isn’t afoot.

The Break Room at Pepper, part of the Distillery District. Behind the fence is the Town Branch.
Behind the building is a great patio overlooking said creek. Author’s collection.

Perhaps the most exciting news in terms of Lexington’s waterfront is what is presently occurring in the Distillery District. Multiple businesses are in the works with patio seating overlooking Lexington’s historic waterway.

The Break Room, Ethereal Brewing, Middle Fork Kitchen, and the Barrel House Distillery are truly making something of this incredible part of town that not long ago was just an industrial wasteland. And behind that wasteland was the historic (and surprisingly beautiful and peaceful) Town Branch.

And speaking of crowdsourcing, there is a public art project underfoot. There’s about 20 days left to help put a massive mural along the old barrel warehouse. Imagine the public art that could be fit on a 270-foot wide canvas?

20,000 square feet of public art. In one location. In Lexington. Where do I sign up for that? Actually, click on the crowd sourcing box on the right to find out more about the project and how you can help out.