Making a SPLASH! in Lexington’s East End

June 24, 2022Green Spaces and Public Places

Lexington got even cooler on May 2 with the groundbreaking of Splash!, an interactive water-play project in Charles Young Park in Lexington’s East End neighborhood. The free attraction is for kids of all ages and abilities and will be completed in 2023, just in time for next summer.

Splash! has been years in the making, and Blue Grass Community Foundation was there every step of the way.

Lexington’s East End was long overdue for a free, walkable water-play feature accessible to neighborhood families. In 2016, the Community Foundation partnered with Gehl Studios, the Knight Foundation, Lexington Parks and Recreation, Lexington Downtown Development Authority and East End residents to document the need for kid friendly water features and family-friendly green spaces in the neighborhood. Feedback from East End residents guided the development and design of Splash! and the new playground in Charles Young Park.

Splash! will simulate the bubbling brooks and shallow wading creeks of our signature Bluegrass rural landscape. The area will have shade trees, native plantings, stepping stones and simulated hills. Interpretive signs and public art will chronicle the history of Kentucky native Charles Young,
who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) in 1889 and became the first African American to be awarded the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army. The water feature will also celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the East End neighborhood.

Town Branch Commons, part of the trail system that traces the historic Town Branch Creek through downtown Lexington, will soon be located next to Charles Young Park, making Splash! an easy walk or bike ride away for neighborhood families.

Blue Grass Community Foundation gave a total of $1.05 million to the project. The Knight Foundation Fund at BGCF issued a $600,000 matching challenge grant. Donors who answered the challenge included the James and Martha Monroe Charitable Fund at BGCF, Elhapa Foundation, J.M. Smucker Co. and Community Ventures.

“The Community Foundation is committed to investing in projects that make our neighborhoods more equitable for everyone,” said Lisa Adkins, president/CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation. “We are thrilled with the results of this civic collaboration.”

To learn how you can collaborate with Blue Grass Community Foundation to make a real and lasting difference in your neighborhood, contact
Lisa Adkins at or 859.225.3343.