Cleanup continues at Henry Clay Estate after historic severe weather

It has been nearly a month since the historic windstorm ripped through Lexington and left a path of destruction behind.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 8:43 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It has been nearly a month since the historic windstorm ripped through Lexington and left a path of destruction behind.

One area with a lot of damage is the Henry Clay Estate.

Executive Director Jim Clark says though they’ve gotten a lot done, it’s still been a very slow cleanup process. He says 16 of the trees on the property fell down, some of them nearly 200 years old.

“We’ve done all the things that needed to be done in terms of public safety,” said Clark.

They have done that so that people can still visit and walk the site even while cleanup is underway.

“It’s a very special place in this community. It’s sort of like Lexington’s central park,” Clark said.

Clark says the property has 600 trees. Many of them, he says, have been around since before Henry Clay’s time. Clark says they lost black cherry, walnut and spruce trees. They even lost a Norway spruce that Clark says was used as the site’s Christmas tree.

“It’ll take about a year for us to get through all of this in terms of removing everything and replanting,” Clark said.

When the time comes to replant, Clark says they will follow the property’s master plan.

“We want to keep the shape of the property and its layout the same as how Henry designed it,” Clark said. “We want to remain true to the diversity of species but also focus a lot on the Kentucky native trees.”

Clark says they don’t know exactly how much the entire cleanup will cost the privately funded site, but he expects it will be tens of thousands of dollars. This includes repairs needed on the smokehouse’s roof after a tree fell on it. He says he appreciates the community members who’ve already stepped up and made monetary donations.

“We’re gonna need all the generosity that we can get in order to complete this work,” Clark said.

The Henry Clay estate was far from the only area to see the damage, though. the City of Lexington still has crews out clearing debris. Mayor Linda Gorton met with Parks and Recreation this week.

Clark says some of the debris left on the property will be chipped up, and some will be upcycled. He says they’re looking for woodworkers to turn the timber into things like benches, tables and bowls.

If you are interested in donating to their cleanup cost, click here or stop by and give your donation in person.