Lexington’s Horse-Racing Linked to Urban Growth Boundary

The unlikely relationship between Kentucky’s horse-racing tradition and Urban Growth Boundaries

by David Heyburn, 08.03.16, usgbc.org

As Metro Louisville begins the process to update its Comprehensive Plan, Cornerstone 2020, there is an interesting historic and strategic juxtaposition in Kentucky’s next largest city, Lexington.

Embedded within the richness of Kentucky’s horse-racing tradition, showcased every first Saturday in May, is a celebration of a land in which the urban city is but the urban city, and the rural countryside is but the rural countryside. For at least a moment, we believe that they each have a unique and distinct value, and attempts to infringe one upon the other shall be denied.

While the world descends on Churchill Downs in Louisville for one weekend a year for the Run for the Roses, a lesser-known, yet arguably more quintessentially Kentucky racing experience and center of horse racing industry is Keeneland Racecourse, about one hour east of Louisville in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky’s horse economy, primarily centered around Lexington, creates serious economic value—approximately $4 billion annually. Furthermore, world-class horse farms require a lot of land. However, the Bluegrass farmlands also have a qualitative value that mutually supports their economic value. While sitting in Keeneland’s clubhouse, you are treated to an unobstructed view of Kentucky’s natural beauty for as far as the eye can see; farmland that is meant to be farmland. However, this bucolic view is not coincidental…Read more at usgbc.org


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