Nov 202017
 

Town branch by rheotaxis, part 3

 

By Danny Mayer

Reveal, Clean, Carve, Connect is a strategy that ties the nuances of Lexington’s rich substrata to development potentials on its surface.

–From Reviving Town Branch, Scape/Landscape Architecture Team

In February, 2009, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) delivered preliminary approval for the creation of two Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts in downtown Lexington: the 14.25 acre Phoenix Park/Courthouse development and the 25 acre Distillery District. Combined, the two developments projected to cost their developers $490 million to complete, of which the city and state had committed to rebate up to $135 million—or about $3.4 million per downtown acre.

Map from http://www.townbranchcommons.com/

Continue reading »

Apr 052013
 

On the Town Branch, part 2

By Danny Mayer

I first heard about the Town Branch in a geography class at the University of Kentucky, early in 2001. We didn’t talk much about the creek itself. It was the thing that oriented us differently on the maps: our skeletal framework, a northwesterly axis, something railroad ties covered.

It would be another six years before Town Branch appeared to me in all its cavernous damp wonder. While visiting a farm in Keene, Kentucky,  I happened upon an urban caver and all-around fire-master—a man who introduced himself as “Thom-with-an-H,” the last three syllables rolling away from the lazy ‘m’ like the sharp uncoiling of a lasso (tom,with-in-atche). Over a long fire that spanned several days, Thom-with-an-H recounted to me stories of cave trips taken beneath the greater Lexington substrata. Several of these stories began or ended nearby the Town Branch Creek; a few involved walking up-creek from the edge of the Rupp Arena parking lot, into the culvert, and underneath downtown.

During that summer of 2007, I sat for hours and listened to Thom-with-an-H  talk, marveling all the while at the holes his caves were poking into my Lexington maps. It was quite heady stuff to imagine one descending underground at Cardinal Valley and emerging in Southland, or disappearing into the west end of Rupp only to re-appear one block east of the East End. Continue reading »

Apr 052013
 

A call to commoners

Mayer's Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Mayer’s Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

NoC editor Danny Mayer is sponsoring a Town Branch Commons design challenge. He’s calling on area commoners to come up with a functional design to redevelop a portion of  151 East Vine Street, a .62 acre publicly owned surface parking lot that runs downtown between Vine and Water Street. He will present the winning idea to a meeting of the city council, where he will formally request public funding for the project.

The idea for Mayer’s challenge began after the NoC editor read about the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government’s recent admission that closing down surface parking lots on Vine Street is “clearly implementable” and “within the realm of do-ability.” The observation came in response to the recent selection of Scape Landscape Architecture’s proposal for a linear downtown park named the Town Branch Commons.

“I think it’s great,” Mayer said, “that city leaders are finally acknowledging the benefits of transforming under-used government property into human-scaled places of interaction and mobility. I want to do my part to encourage more of that thinking.” Continue reading »

Mar 172013
 
Mayer's Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Mayer’s Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

NoC editor Danny Mayer is sponsoring a Town Branch Commons design challenge. He’s calling on area commoners to come up with an affordable and functional design to redevelop a portion of  151 East Vine Street, a .62 acre publicly owned surface parking lot that runs downtown between Vine and Water Street in Lexington, Kentucky. He will present the winning idea to a meeting of the city council, at which time he will formally request public funding for the project.

The idea for Mayer’s challenge began after the NoC editor read about a city leader’s recent admission that closing down surface parking lots on Vine Street is “clearly implementable” and “within the realm of do-ability.”

“I think it’s great,” Mayer said, “that city leaders are finally acknowledging the benefits of transforming under-used government property into human-scaled places of interaction and mobility. I want to do my part to encourage more of that thinking.” Continue reading »