Revitalizing one of Lexington’s first suburbs
Southland Drive puts the original “South” in South Lexington.
Like all of Lexington’s early suburbs, the infrastructure began to show its age in recent decades, and in 2015, the Lexington Department of Planning, Preservation, and Development began exploring the possibility of installing sidewalks along both sides of Southland Drive, from Nicholasville Road to Rosemont Garden, as part of a massive revitalization effort.
In 2016, the City’s Division of Planning worked with UK’s Interior Design, Historic Preservation, and Landscape Architecture programs. As their class project, students explored the history of and design solutions to retrofitting the suburban strip mall neighborhood. This process helped inform some of the recent Southland area improvements.
Construction on the Southland Drive sidewalk project was designed to improve pedestrian safety and to encourage economic activity along the corridor.
In the Fall of 2020, Lexington celebrated the completion of a $2.1 million Southland Drive Corridor project.
As part of the ongoing revitalization, LexArts invited artists to create 3D artwork for Retrofitting the Retro, an 18-month outdoor exhibit that reinforced the musical heritage of the Southland neighborhood. Ten musically-inspired sculptures by eight local artists were installed along Southland Drive. Some pieces are permanent while others are available for purchase once the exhibit is over. The project was funded by the City of Lexington and federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The art installation is part of Rediscover Southland, a project that was launched in an effort to reflect the neighborhood’s identity and emphasize Southland as a destination neighborhood.
Stryker, a new 10-foot tall stainless steel abstract sculpture created by Clifton Cox, is on display outside of Southland Bowling. Cox says, “Southland is where I grew up. I grew up in this bowling alley as a kid, my first job was at Donut Days. The name of it is Stryker, so it’s a perfect place next to the bowling alley.”
Kiptoo Tarus was inspired by Picasso’s Old Guitarist with his sculpture, ‘2020 Blues,’ which is made from one piece of wood.
Jemery Colbert’s ‘Sat in Stone’ is inspired by music notes and the communication between the two different stones used.
The Southland Association was formed in 2004, and participated in accomplishments like helping to establish a Sunday Farmers’ Market for the neighborhood from Spring through Fall; planting 140+ trees throughout the corridor; creating the Southland Jamboree concert series; adding bike lanes and sidewalks; creating two commercial rain gardens; and establishing an Annual Southland Street Fair in the Spring.
This article appears on page 47 of the 2021 annual print edition of the Spring Summit Guide.
Call today to advertise in Summit Guide, 859.361.4169