More repair work on $85 million Town Branch Commons

North of Center

Don’t tell the awards judges for the American Society of Landscape Architects or the Federal Highway Administration, but Lexington’s award-winning Town Branch Commons is undergoing repairs on its main trunk along Vine Street between Mill and Upper streets, an area branded as the “Clean Commons.” The Clean Commons section was completed in mid-2021. Repairs to this section have been ongoing for over three months now.

The Clean Commons work appears to be at least the second significant repair recently undertaken on the world class 2.2 mile bike-lane, which remains unfinished after 10 years of design and construction work. Last fall, repairs were needed on the “Connect Commons” when a storm surge appeared to overwhelm the drainage ditch designed by MacArthur genius Kate Orff of Brooklyn design firm SCAPE. The Connect Commons repairs came within one year of that section’s October 2022 completion under the guidance of local landscape architects at Gresham Smith.

The failure of the TB Commons drainage ditch seems notable. From the LFUCG announcement that the much-lauded bike trail had won a 2023 Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects:

The design addresses storm water runoff with the implementation of urban rain gardens and bioswales, engineered planting areas designed to collect and soak up rainfall, while cleaning pollutants from the water.

Susan Straub, LFUCG Communications director

Generally, when one hires a contractor to perform renovations on their business or home, a base expectation is that the work to be functional for a period of time after completion.

Amazingly, the SCAPE design implemented by Gresham Smith has required repair work even before completion of the entire project! (The TB Commons have yet to complete the planned TB Park located behind Rupp Arena.)

Imagine your home builder winning national awards off your multi-million dollar garish home renovation (fake moats, conjured waterfalls, unnecessary rock work, party funds) while your shitters are clogging up even before the contractor gets around to putting your windows in.

Imagine the contractor of this garish nouveau riche monstrosity winning civic architecture awards while having the compounds 12 shitters backing up before project completion.

You probably can’t imagine that. That would be crazy. These things only seem to happen in downtown Lexington, where accountability has long been on the outs, and well-placed political donations and expert sycophancy rule supreme.

Somebody quick call the Better Business Bureau.

Republished with permission.

Danny Mayer is the founder of North of Center,  a news and commentary site that since 2009 has covered the world through a focus on Bluegrass Region politics, culture, geography, and history.

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