City breaks ground on Kelley’s Landing

May 1, 2024Community Funds, Green Spaces and Public Places

Mayor Linda Gorton, Councilmembers, Lexington Parks & Recreation staff, the Fund for Greater Lexington, Blue Grass Community Foundation, and other attendees, broke ground on Lexington’s new 30-acre river park – Kelley’s Landing.

The property is located off Old Richmond Road, near the I-75 bridge into Madison County. It will be a place for kayakers and canoeists to get into the Kentucky River and travel 12 miles between locks, enjoying beautiful views of the palisades along the way.

Work is underway on a master plan for the park thanks to a gift from the Fund for Greater Lexington. “The Fund for Greater Lexington’s investment in the park will allow us to open the park sooner, with a great plan in place to match the community’s needs,” Gorton said.

“Through the Fund for Greater Lexington’s direct involvement in transformative projects like the Kelley’s Landing master plan, the community endowment can contribute to the long-term vision and direction of Lexington. With an investment of $150,000, the Fund for Greater Lexington is thrilled to announce the selection of Gresham Smith, an outstanding and experienced design firm, to develop a master plan for Kelley’s Landing,” said Noa Gimelli, Co-Chair of the Fund. “At the heart of the master plan design will be an extensive and inclusive community engagement process to ensure the park reflects the needs and wants of Lexington’s residents — an important priority for the Fund for Greater Lexington.”

Kelley’s Landing is named for the late John Kelley. The Kelley Family purchased the property in 1924 and ran a general store there. When recreational boating boomed in the 1960s and 70s, the family opened a boat dock, which was a popular destination. Mr. Kelley ran the dock until the late 1980s, when his focus shifted to the family farm.

The natural area park includes significant green space, wooded areas, river access, and picturesque views of the river. Since the city purchased the property in 2022, significant site preparation has been done to demolish unsafe buildings, and remove debris the river has washed ashore over the years.

“Over the past few years, Lexington has seen many investments and enhancements to our parks,” said Councilmember Kathy Plomin, whose district includes Kelley’s Landing. “Today we are adding what I believe is one of the most exciting and unique park projects in our city’s history. Kelley’s Landing will provide direct access to the Kentucky River, and will allow new and unique outdoor recreational uses. Kelley’s Landing is a welcome addition to our city and region.”

Monica Conrad, Director of Lexington Parks & Recreation, said creating a master plan, an extensive study that is used as a guide during development, is critical to maximizing utilization of the land, and ensuring the park meets the needs of the community.

“We are grateful to the Fund for Greater Lexington and excited to begin this process with Gresham Smith,” Conrad said. “We know how important master plans are to guiding thoughtful design that meets the needs of all our citizens. Having public river access as a recreational opportunity will be an exciting addition to our already expansive list of programs and offerings. The picturesque views of the palisades will not only be a feature for our community, but a new highlight for tourism as well.”


About Lexington Parks & Recreation

Parks & Recreation, a division of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, oversees the programing, maintenance, and development of over 100 city parks and natural areas, six pools, five golf courses, community centers, recreational programs, and three arts venues. To find out more, follow @LexKYParks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or sign up for the email newsletter.


About the Fund for Greater Lexington

The Fund for Greater Lexington is a permanent community endowment, an always growing charitable resource investing in transformative community projects and addressing critical needs that improve the quality of life for all of Lexington. The Fund for Greater Lexington is one of nine endowed community funds at Blue Grass Community Foundation. Learn more and give at


About Blue Grass Community Foundation

Blue Grass Community Foundation creates more generous, vibrant, equitable and engaged communities by growing charitable giving throughout the Bluegrass and Appalachia Kentucky. To learn more about the Community Foundation, visit or contact President/CEO Lisa Adkins at 859.225.3343.