A project manager for Town Branch Commons; the $35 M planned construction of a bike and pedestrian pathway through downtown Lexington linking the Legacy and Town Branch trails, has told members of the urban county council that the project is over budget. Brandi Peach says in addition to increasing construction costs, negotiating with some property owners has become a challenge.
"We have to purchase some right of way, particularly in zone six and that's Manchester Street," Peach said. That area has recently seen considerable growth by way of the Distillery District. "The market changes. We all know this, so prices of property have changed and so those numbers are varying a little bit," Peach explained.
The administrator told the council they’re trying to trim costs through design changes. While council members continued to acknowledge the importance of the downtown project Councilman Richard Moloney says he’s not in favor of borrowing more money to keep it on schedule.
"The question is do we go back and live within our means, what the budget is, what we can afford or do we have to come out and start bonding or doing something else and I am concerned about that. You're going to get a big no out of me on that because I have some serious issues finding new money anywhere," Moloney said.
Peach told the panel she could not quote an exact dollar figure as to the cost overruns but she hoped to have more details soon. Construction on the first phase of the project is expected to start in about 3 months with the whole thing being completed by 2021.