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Community Vitality

Population:  318,449


Area in Square Miles:   285.5 square miles

Acres of Active and Passive Recreation:   4429 total acres

Introduction to Lexington, KY

Lexington is located in the heart of the Bluegrass Region of Central Kentucky.  Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” it is Kentucky’s second largest city.  In 1974 our city and county governments merged into one entity, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG), creating efficiency and cost-effectiveness throughout government.  ​

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Lexington enacted the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary in 1958, where new development could only occur inside the Urban Service Area. Lexington’s Comprehensive Plan sets a strict minimum area requirement outside the Urban Service Boundary to protect the natural beauty and agriculture of the Bluegrass Region. Moreover, the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program protects farms from development by purchasing easements that prevent further development of those farms in perpetuity. The program is over halfway to its goal of protecting 50,000 acres of Fayette County farmland. The rural area also includes roadways designated as Scenic Byways and many other planning efforts to protect and enhance Lexington/Fayette County. 


Lexington is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. Fayette County sits atop rolling hills of limestone laced with small caves and springs and is bounded on the south by the Kentucky River, which is the source of water for Fayette and surrounding counties. The river’s stately limestone palisades are home to unique plant species. The calcium from this limestone in the region’s soil makes it an exceptional equine nursery for raising strong-boned foals in thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and other horse breeds.


Lexington's roads form a wheel-and-spokes pattern: New Circle Road forms a circle around the inner city, and arterial roads radiate from downtown. Arterial roads are mostly named for the towns they lead to.

Leadership & Policy

  • Utilizing input gathered from hundreds of Lexington community members, our Parks & Recreation Department just completed the 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan to address our community’s changing needs and demographics.  It will provide guidance for parks, recreation, open space, and trails in Lexington for the next ten years and beyond. 

  • ConnectLex, Lexington’s 2018 Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan, guides decision-makers in improving bicycling and walking in our community.  It focuses on increasing safety and mobility; developing a connected bikeway network in and around lexington and the surrounding communities; and creating connected walkable streets that allow people of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently get where they want to go. The plan includes recommendations for bikeways, sidewalks and trails as well as policies, programs and infrastructure improvements.  

  • The Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) monitors local air quality and promotes ways to reduce air pollution. 

  • The Urban Service Boundary and Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program are preserving the rural character of the Bluegrass Region and putting emphasis on infill projects that repurpose or restore existing structures.

  • A municipal corridors commission monitors and improves major arteries.

  • ND-1 and H1 overlay zones allow restrictions to maintain the character of existing neighborhoods.

  • A city ordinance requires street-view landscaping for both new and remodeled development.

  • LexCall 311, a centralized municipal call center, makes it easy to report issues with city streets, graffiti, improper signs, or property code violations.

  • The Downtown Lexington Partnership encourages business development, curb appeal, urban living and markets downtown Lexington as a great place to live, work and have fun. DLP contracted with Block-By-Block, a national firm that provides roving ambassadors in bright purple shirts who answer visitors’ questions, power wash sidewalks, pick up litter, remove graffiti and are extra eyes and ears on the street for security.

Outdoor Facilities and Events

  • Lexington Parks and Recreation offers more than 100 parks and facilities including 7 pools, 5 golf courses, 6 dog parks, 4 community centers, 4 skate parks, 2 forested nature centers, a farm, 2 equestrian areas, an archery range and 7 plaza spaces. 

  • In addition to the facilities offered by Lexington Parks and Recreation, our public school system provides playgrounds, basketball courts, and other amenities at 36 locations that are open to the public when school is not in session. Many private facilities (HOA, neighborhood associations, churches, etc.) located in Lexington also offer playgrounds, tennis courts, trails, and swimming pools for residents.

  • Lexington boasts over 70 miles of trails and paths in more than 50 different parks and locations spread throughout the community.  The Legacy Trail, one of the most popular, is a 12 mile shared-use greenway trail connecting downtown Lexington with area neighborhoods, parks and historic sites as it follows a northward course to the Kentucky Horse Park. 


  • “Blue Horse” wayfinding signs, installed in 2010 for the World Equestrian Games, are eye-catching and make it easy for visitors to find their way around town.

  • Walk Your City - 42 pedestrian-focused signs to encourage walking in and around downtown Lexington. The signs show the distance in minutes rather than miles to selected destinations.

  • LexArch, a free walking tour app, features maps of Lexington city blocks with selected historic buildings described in text, narrative, and photograph.    

  • Landscaping of downtown streets with hanging baskets, large pots of flowers and shrubs, holiday lighting of street trees, and the lighted façade of the city’s parking garage add beauty.

  • Lamppost banners are used downtown to promote upcoming events and add graphic interest to streetscapes.

  • Landscape enhancement of major corridor intersections by the Division of Environmental Services, such as the one at Main St. and Newtown Pike.

  • Three roundabouts, one double-diamond, and blinking left turn signals reduce traffic congestion.

  • The South Limestone streetscape project with striped bike lanes, trees, and rain gardens created a visual and pedestrian-friendly avenue between UK and downtown.

  • A locally owned and tax-funded bus system operates 6am –midnight including energy efficient vehicles.

  • “Retrofitting the Retro” project along Southland Drive made streetscape improvements to an aging but thriving suburban commercial district.  The project included installation of bike lanes, signs, sidewalks, rain gardens and tree planting.

  • Downtown parks and businesses feature sculptures, fountains and water features.

  • Murals abound throughout the community installed by individual muralists and by national and international muralists sponsored by a non-profit group called PRHBT. Twenty-nine are featured on LexLover.

Condition & Maintenance

  • A litter index is performed annually by Keep Lexington Beautiful and the city provides regular litter cleanup services.  Cigarette urns have been placed at businesses downtown to deter cigarette littering by Keep Lexington Beautiful.

  • The Sheriff’s Office supervises inmates from the Division Corrections of who are tasked with graffiti removal throughout Lexington.

  • Storm drain stenciling program to raise awareness of importance of keeping litter out of sewer system

  • Several grants are available through LFUCG for cleanup, beautification, and environmental improvements including Storm Water Incentive Grants, Community Development grants, and Council grants for neighborhoods.

  • Recent energy-efficiency upgrades have been made to several government facilities.

  • Vacant Properties Commission oversees uninhabited properties

Community Involvement

  • Lexington volunteers help clean up litter during several annual community events including Great American Cleanup, Main Street Clean Sweep. More than 1,000 volunteers helped to clean up 7,804 pounds of litter on Earth Day. 

  • Lexington has an active Adopt-A-Spot program with 20 locations in urban Lexington maintained by volunteer groups.

  • Kentucky River Sweep - In June of each year LFUCG provides boats to assist volunteers as they clean up tons of trash in conjunction with the Ohio River Group (ORSANCO). 

  • Hundreds of volunteers help to plan and implement community events each year.  Some examples include:

  • Thursday Night Live 

  • Roots and Heritage Festival 

  • The Rolex Three Day Event at the Horse Park

  • The Highhope Steeplechase in May at the Horse Park

  • Junior League Charity Horse Show at Red Mile 

  • Friday night movie screenings at Jacobson Park and Triangle Park

  • Picnic with the Pops at Keeneland

  • Pumpkinmania at Transylvania University

  • Festival Latino de Lexington

  • The Woodland Arts Fair 

  • Fourth of July Festival and parade

  • Annual Bluegrass 10,000 Race on July 4th.

  • Annual Midsummer Night’s Run Race  

  • Bike Lexington Family Ride and Program  

  • SummerFest outdoor theatre

  • Ballet Under the Stars at Woodland Park

  • Music and drama at Beaumont Center’s Moon Dance amphitheater

  • Southern Lights display at the Horse Park during the winter holidays

  • Downtown Thriller Parade and Event 

  • Lexus Smooth Jazz Festival and Jazz at Ecton Park

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  • A number of recognition programs are in place to celebrate the contributions Lexingtonians make to improve and beautify our city. Some examples are

    • Bluegrass Trust Restoration Awards

    • LFUCG Environmental Commission Awards

    • Live Green Lexington School Partner Awards

    • Live Green Partners recognize businesses that make environmental improvements

Best Idea - Citizen's Environmental Academy

This Spring, The LFUCG Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works graduated the first class of  its Citizens’ Environmental Academy.  The academy is a year-long program designed to help selected Lexington community members gain a deeper understanding of the city’s environmental efforts.  Participants attended workshops, toured city facilities, and learned from city and community experts. At the conclusion of program, participants worked in groups to develop lasting projects to help Lexington become a more sustainable community.  Some of the projects included the design and installation of a tree crutch to support a 300 year old Bur Oak at McConnell Springs, design and installation of a pop-up streetscape to improve bike and pedestrian safety in an underserved area of the city, a new resident welcome packet and online recycling guide to inform citizens of recycling options in Lexington for materials that the city doesn’t recycle, and a storm water remediation project to protect the Blue Hole at McConnell Springs, one of Lexington’s historical natural features.

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