Time Winding Down To Submit Ideas For Lexington Legacy Project

All eyes will be on Lexington when the World Equestrian Games come to town in 2010, but mayor Jim Newberry says the city needs to find some projects that will live on long after the games are gone.

With the assistance of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the city is in the hunt for what Newberry calls "legacy projects" - permanent structures or concepts inspired by the event.

The most lasting example, he says, is Centennial Olympic Park, which has become a major part of downtown Atlanta even after the Olympics left town. An Olympic Village Neighborhood still exists in Vancouver, and a Youth Education Town sprouted up in Detroit after that city hosted the Super Bowl.

"We are looking for the big ideas we feel will transform our community," Newberry said.

Newberry announced a series of brainstorming sessions Tuesday from Phoenix Park, across from the Fayette County Courthouse in Lexington. The park itself was a legacy project that grew after the city hosted the Final Four.

Jack Kelly, CEO of the World Games 2010 Foundation, said the objective of the legacy projects was "to avoid leaving footprints in the sand."

Members of the community are invited to submit ideas for legacy projects, but the deadline is Sept. 11.

Community meetings to discuss the submitted ideas and to offer additional suggestions will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the theater of the Main Library on Main Street. The foundation will make a final selection and an annoucement on Nov. 13.

As for the cost, Newberry says he is confident the community will be able to raise donations.

When the equestrian games come to Lexington in 2010, it'll be the first time the United States has ever hosted the massive event, labeled by some as an Olympics for horses.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)

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