Provide adequate greenspace for all neighborhoods within walking distance.
Greenspace is key to successful neighborhoods. It has the benefits of improving air quality, providing social interactions, and improving public health. An interconnected and accessible greenspace system consisting of vibrant and attractive public spaces, healthy natural areas and plentiful recreational opportunities create neighborhoods where people want to live.
Over the years, greenspace has evolved far beyond the definition of rural landscapes. Greenspace encompasses public parks, trails, boulevards, activity lawns, schoolyards, public plazas, amphitheaters, stormwater basins, the arboretum, cemeteries, etc. Based on the input from the Greenspace Survey in 2016, people have a strong desire for accessible greenspace. People have a preference to reside close to greenspace that they are able to walk to.
Since 2007, when green infrastructure was introduced in the Comprehensive Plan, it has continued to play a strong role in protecting Lexington’s cultural landscape and urban forms. At the same time, it was a sustainable tool for stormwater management, and was incorporated into the Stormwater Manual as a requirement in 2016. Nevertheless, green infrastructure has become an important part of the greenspace system.
Regional parks such as Masterson Station and the Kentucky Horse Park have big venues, functional for large events, while people also desire neighborhood pocket parks where they can enjoy and gather on a regular basis. As shown from Your Parks Our Future city survey by LFUCG Parks and Recreation, the recreational greenspace opportunities that made the priority list are walking and hiking trails, natural areas/nature parks, small neighborhood parks, paved bike trails and indoor swimming pools. Successful neighborhoods such as Gratz Park, Bell Court, Woodland Park, Ashland Park and Downtown are all recognized by their accessible greenspace, inevitably contributing to the overall Bluegrass identity. Indicative of Lexington’s roots, settlement patterns for these older neighborhoods are characterized by narrower interconnected streets and sidewalks, with structures oriented toward the street or park, which create a vibrant relationship with the public domain.
In the ongoing Your Parks Our Future, Parks is planning to take a systematic approach and meet ambitious goals. The Strategic Plan recommends an increase in the population served within a ten-minute walk of a Neighborhood Park (or larger) from the current 40% to 65%, and to increase the population served within a five-minute drive of a Community Park (or larger) from the current 70% to 85%, through development of existing parkland and new parks in growing areas.
- Amend Zoning Ordinance to redefine open space requirements.