UK Board of Trustees approves land swap with city; proposal now awaits city’s approval


This map shows the nearly 250 acres that the city of Lexington would receive if the proposed land swap between it and UK is approved. UK would receive several streets and alleys near campus. 

Bailey Vandiver

The UK Board of Trustees approved the proposed land swap between UK and the city of Lexington during Tuesday’s board meeting.

The state has already approved the proposal, UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday said during his presentation. The next step is for the city to approve it. 

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government is expected to consider the proposal in January. Mayor Jim Gray has already endorsed the deal, said UK spokesperson Jay Blanton.

If the proposal is approved by the city, UK will transfer approximately 250 acres to Lexington in return for the title of several campus streets and alleys.

Lexington will gain the “Turtle Neck Property,” approximately 200 acres in Coldstream bordering I-75, as well as up to 50 acres in the Coldstream Research Campus, according to a fact sheet from the city and UK. 

The property will be for the purpose of economic development. The Coldstream property will be available for sale to businesses.

“For the larger community, this creates land for economic development that is currently not available,” Blanton said. “This is a win for UK as well, in that it creates the potential for more good-paying jobs for our graduates who come to UK and, often, want to stay in this vibrant community.”

UK will receive 13 acres in sections of 26 streets and alleys near campus, including Rose Street, parts of which have been closed to traffic for several years now.

“As part of the swap, if it occurs, the city and university are committing substantial resources to traffic and safety improvements,” Blanton said. “That is our primary concern for the more than 30,000 students we serve along with nearly 20,000 employees.”

UK is committed to funding at least $3 million over the next 10 years to traffic safety improvements, with up to $1 million in the first year.

The city is committed to at least $1 million in traffic safety improvements over the next 10 years.

Blanton said this trade is about improving pedestrian and campus safety in partnership with the city.

“That’s what this proposal, if approved ultimately, creates the potential for– improvements to safety, improvements to access, improvements and enhancements for our local, regional and state economy,” Blanton said.

This trade will lead to further efforts to “pedestrianize our campus,” Monday said during his presentation. 

The Board of Trustees also approved a proposal to take the first step toward demolition for the Kirwan-Blanding Complex. More information about that decision can be found here