The street may be short, but this year Short Street is long on expectations.
Not only will the street be the downtown focal point for the KentuckyOne Health Breeders’ Cup Festival, but Short, between Mill and Lime, is getting a facelift complete with flowers, benches and painted sidewalks that are more pedestrian friendly. To preserve parking, spaces are now angular.
“This is a pilot project,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “Short Street will be a special place to celebrate the Breeders’ Cup with music, broadcasts of the races, art exhibits and special food. After that, we’ll involve the community in deciding whether the changes should be permanent.”
Gray cut a ribbon today to celebrate the street’s new look with Downtown Development Authority President Jeff Fugate, award-winning garden designer Jon Carloftis, Keeneland Vice President Vince Gabbert, Shorty’s Owner Bob Estes, VisitLex President Mary Quinn Ramer and Kip Cornett, chair of the KentuckyOne Health Breeders’ Cup Festival Committee.
The Downtown Development Authority coordinated the Short Street project. “These changes were designed with place-making in mind,” Fugate said. “We host visitors from all over the world and are working toward world-class streets to match our world-class landscape."
Gray thanked Jon Carloftis, an award-winning garden designer, for donating the plants. “The planters have Jon’s special touch,” Gray said. “And thanks to the members of the local America in Bloom committee for all their support and hard work on the planters.” America in Bloom, a nationwide beautification organization, supported the project from the beginning, making the connections to help make it happen.
Gray also thanked Keeneland and VisitLex for supporting the Short Street project. “Our hometown, Keeneland and our Thoroughbred industry are going to be on a world stage in October,” Gray said. “We’re working together to put our city’s best foot forward.”
“As we kick off the Keeneland Fall Sales and Racing season and the world comes to Lexington, we are extremely excited to be a part of this project that will continue to showcase one of our city’s great corridors,” Gabbert said.
Mary Quinn Ramer, President of VisitLex, said, “Short Street has quickly become one of our city’s ‘go-to’ hospitality districts, and these enhancements offer our visitors a special place to enjoy downtown Lexington.”
The KentuckyOne Health festival will be Oct. 24-31. “Our guests from near and far will be treated to a range of entertainment, activities and hospitality unlike any other Breeders’ Cup,” Cornett said. “The investments from our sponsors and the effort from our arts and hospitality sectors have been amazing. They will put on a great show.” The festival website, www.breederscupfestival.com, offers more information.