Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

Preserving community Cohesion Through Southend Park Neighborhood Redevelopment

Newtown Pike extension Project, Lexington, Kentucky

Representation (drawing) of the Southend Park Neighborhood after redevelopment. The drawing shows a downtown view, with what appear to be shops and churches on tree-lined streets, over about two street blocks.

Case Highlights

Description: Davistown is one of the oldest Black/African-American communities in the Lexington, Kentucky, area. During the preparation of the environmental impact statement for the project, it was determined that indirect impacts associated with the Newtown Pike Extension would be expected to increase the land value in Davistown and surrounding neighborhoods, and would effectively force out low-income residents through increased redevelopment pressures. Davistown residents had been adversely affected by decades of discussions around a potential Newtown Pike Extension through their neighborhood, resulting in a sense of distrust at the outset of the environmental study. The project team hired a community liaison and included community members on project advisory and steering committees to gain the trust of the community as well as their participation in decision making. With community participation, an innovative mitigation option was developed based on the use of a Community Land Trust to provide long-term, sustainable, and affordable housing to community residents so that they could remain in the area even as land values increase.

Key concepts: Effective practices in addressing environmental justice include: intensive public involvement during corridor planning to define neighborhood visions, constraints, and opportunities; conducting a Community Impact Assessment and Socio-economic Baseline Analysis at the outset of the environmental study to help determine the level of analysis that would be needed and to identify potential issues early on; the use of a community liaison to facilitate communication between the project team and the affected community; and establishment of a land trust to ensure long-term, sustainable, and affordable housing for affected community residents.


Davistown is one of the oldest Black/African-American communities in the Lexington, Kentucky area. During preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project, it was determined that indirect impacts would likely increase the land value in Davistown and surrounding neighborhoods, and would effectively force out low-income residents through increased redevelopment pressures. Davistown residents had been adversely affected by decades of discussions around a potential Newtown Pike Extension through their neighborhood, resulting in a sense of distrust at the outset of the environmental study. The project team hired a community liaison and included community members on project advisory and steering committees to gain the trust of the community as well as their participation in decision making. An innovative mitigation option was developed based on the use of a Community Land Trust to provide long-term, sustainable, and affordable housing to community residents.

Project context map showing the limits of the Newtown Pike Extension, which extend from the southeast at Route 27 near the University of Kentucky north to Main Street. The project crosses Broadway and Route 60 and runs to the west of Lexington's Central Business District. There is an interchange between the Newtown Pike and I-64/I-75 north of the business district.

Figure 1. The Newtown Pike Extension will connect major roads north and south of Lexington's downtown, bypassing its busy business district.

Project Context

Newtown Pike is a major artery for north-south traffic through Lexington, Kentucky. Increased traffic congestion and pedestrian issues in downtown Lexington during the 1980s and 1990s stressed the urgency of routing traffic away from the downtown area. In the late 1990s, the Newtown Pike Extension gained high-priority status. Milestones in the environmental study are summarized in the Project Timeline on the next page. Led by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Newtown Pike Extension project is currently under construction and will connect the Newtown Pike to roads to the south of downtown Lexington, bypassing its busy business district and correcting a recognized inadequacy of the transportation network (Figure 1).

Project Timeline

1931 - 1998

Various conceptualizations and proposals for a Newtown Pike Extension are not carried forward.


Stakeholders Committee formed to determine what course of action was needed to reactivate the project. Committee included Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG), Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Lexington Transit Authority, University of Kentucky, neighborhood associations, and American Consulting Engineers PLC. The committee's work resulted in drafting the project Purpose and Need Statement. LFUCG received concurrence from FHWA and FTA to proceed to the environmental studies required by NEPA for Federal funding.

1998 - 2000

The Newtown Pike Extension Main Street to Euclid Avenue or Limestone Street Engineering Environmental Overview Study was conducted with considerable public involvement. The southern terminus for the extension project at Limestone Street was selected.


Advisory Committee formed to assist with gathering public input and to provide advisory direction. Members were selected by Council members of the LFUCG and included representatives of neighborhood associations, local businesses, and government representatives.


Guiding Principles (for implementation of the Newtown Pike Extension) - document signed by the LFUCG, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the FHWA, and the University of Kentucky. Among the guiding principles the document included the need to address environmental-justice issues and affordable housing for Davistown, Irishtown, and Pralltown as well as having no unfair burden on other areas.

2002 (continued)

The Newtown Pike Extension Corridor Plan study was conducted as part of the road-design process. The Corridor Plan intended to ensure that the roadway would be developed as an amenity for and in support of the surrounding neighborhoods. It included intensive public involvement to define neighborhood visions, constraints, and opportunities. The Corridor Plan recommended redevelopment of Davistown's Southend Park area.

A neighborhood liaison was hired to mediate communication between the project team and the Davistown neighborhood and the Southend Park area.

Community Impact Assessment and Socio-economic Baseline Analysis - this study identified low-income and minority residents who would be directly impacted in the Davistown area, described indirect impacts to communities, and identified the absence of replacement housing in the immediate neighborhood.


Southend Park Urban Village Plan - established a framework for the mitigation of impacts to the Davistown's Southend Park area.


Steering Committee formed to guide formation of a Community Land Trust. It included representatives from the Davistown Southend Park area, Lexington citizens, local and State agencies, and the Nathaniel Mission. The Steering Committee was to decide the details of the Community Land Trust and establish a mechanism for administering the trust. The Committee developed the Community Land Trust By-Laws.


Social Needs Assessment - was conducted by a cultural anthropologist, aimed at better understanding the met and unmet needs of the Southend Park residents. Exposed need to further improve communication in connection with the Community Land Trust.


Newtown Pike Extension ROD

The Region and the Community

The City of Lexington

Lexington is the second largest city in Kentucky and attracts residents from surrounding counties to work, shop, and recreate. Located at the intersection of Interstate Highways I-64 and I-75, it is the nearest major market for large portions of eastern and southeastern Kentucky. Lexington includes all of Fayette County. In 1974, the city and county governments merged to form the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000 Fayette County had a population of 260,512, 81.8 percent white, 13.8 percent Black/African American, and less than 5 percent of other or mixed races. Hispanic/Latinos were 3.3 percent of the population. Approximately 14.1 percent of households had incomes below the poverty level. The city is surrounded by farming areas - particularly horse farms - and its metropolitan area extends to five other counties. Lexington is a regional manufacturing, financial, and educational center, with the University of Kentucky as one of its largest employers.

The Newtown Pike Extension project was designed to divert traffic from the busy Central Business District running alongside the neighborhoods of Irishtown, Davistown, and Pralltown, with several other neighborhoods being indirectly impacted by the project. The greatest impacts would be felt by Davistown, one of the lowest income neighborhoods of Lexington (Figure 2).

The Davistown Neighborhood

The neighborhood of Davistown began in 1855 as a community of Black/African-American workers on the Lexington railway system. It soon became the residence of Black/African-Americans who moved to the city following emancipation in 1866. Davistown was once the most densely populated neighborhood in Lexington but is now relatively sparsely populated. Residents gradually left the neighborhood through the decades as some properties were converted to commercial uses.

A little over 40 percent of the residents of Davistown were Black/African American in 2000, with almost all the rest being White. Only 3 percent were Hispanic/Latino. Data from the 1990 Census, available for Davistown separately from the South Hill neighborhood, showed the poverty rate in Davistown as being 74 percent for the population and 100 percent for children under 18.

Because Davistown is one of the oldest sections of Lexington, it developed before Lexington's zoning regulations were in place. Residences are often adjacent to light industrial or commercial enterprises, and, although currently zoned for mixed residential, commercial, and industrial use, land use is often at odds with zoning. Residents of Davistown often walk to work in surrounding areas downtown, in the service or hotel industries, or at the University of Kentucky.

In 2000, approximately 75 percent of housing units in Davistown were renter occupied, with 25 percent being owner occupied. A windshield survey conducted as part of a 2002 Corridor Plan developed to address impacts of the road to surrounding neighborhoods identified 808 residential and commercial structures in the entire project area, classifying their maintenance condition according to several criteria. A little over 60 percent of the properties in Davistown were considered to be in good condition, the lowest rate among all the neighborhoods surveyed (Figure 3).

Southend Park is in the northwest quadrant of the Davistown neighborhood. The map shows that the right-of-way for the Newtwon Pike Extension project would cross the northern part of Southend Park.

Figure 2. The Southend Park neighborhood (green boundary) of Davistown would be adversely impacted by the Newtown Pike Extension Project.

According to the U.S. Census, approximately 41 percent of residents in Davistown had no high school diploma in 2000, about 62 percent were in the labor force, and 6.4 percent were unemployed. These numbers were likely distorted by the presence of a portion of the South Hill neighborhood in the data. Based on data from the somewhat similar neighborhood of Irishtown, the actual share of residents with no high school diploma and unemployed was likely higher and the actual share of residents in the labor force much lower.

Representative housing in this photograph of DeRoode Street in Davistown shows small, single-family, one-story homes on closely spaced lots. The homes need some repair. Cars are parked along the street.

Figure 3. Homes on DeRoode Street, Davistown.

Table 1. Minority and low-income residents in the Southend Park area.

  Kentucky L-F County Southend- ParkArea
% minority 10 18.2 40
% low income* 15.8 12.9 90
% children below 18, low income 20.8 14.7 100**

* 80% were below median income for their family size for Fayette County.

**5 children below 18 were living in Southend Park.

The Southend Park Area

Within Davistown lies the Southend Park area. Although part of Davistown, it has been recognized for decades as a distinct and impoverished area. Because of its lower altitude when compared to surrounding areas, it is also known as lower Davistown or Davis Bottom.

The Southend Park area occupies 25 acres. Like Davistown, there has been a gradual process of departure in the Southend Park area. In 2006 there were 27 households in Southend Park, down from 88 in 1980, 76 in 1990, and 48 in 2001.

A 2005 door-to-door survey of the Southend- Park area provided demographic data for comparison with State and county data and revealed much higher percentages of residents who are minority and low income in Southend Park than in the county and State: 40 percent of residents were minority and 90 percent low-income (Table 1).

A few commercial enterprises are present in the Southend Park area as well as Southend Park, a 5-acre section 4(f) facility. The neighborhood is also served by the Nathaniel United Methodist Mission, which provides health, education, and economic assistance to residents. Although the Southend Park area contains residential areas, public recreation, retail entities, and a semi-public facility (the Nathaniel Mission); it is zoned light industrial.

What Happened

Identification of Environmental Justice Populations

The Newtown Pike Extension was first conceptualized in the 1930s Comprehensive Plan of Lexington, Kentucky, & Environs, by L. Segoe; was recommended in the Master Plan Supplement of 1958 prepared by Ladislas Segoe & Associates; and was part of every LFUCG long-range transportation plan since the 1971 Urban Transportation Plan, 1964-1990. Since the early proposals, beginning with the 1930's Plan, the precarious conditions of the Southend Park area residences were recognized. When the Corridor Plan and the Community Impact Assessment for the Newtown Pike Extension were developed in the early 2000s, there was already an awareness that low-income residents were overrepresented in neighborhoods like Irishtown and Davistown, and that the Southend Park area was a particularly poor Black/African-American community.

U.S. Census Bureau data was used in the EIS to characterize minority and low-income presence in neighborhoods. Because data was not always available at the statistical subdivision required to match data to neighborhood boundaries (the Census-block level), and because the boundaries of some statistical subdivisions changed between the Censuses of 1990 and 2000, the EIS used Census data for various statistical subdivisions (Census tracts, Census block groups, and Census blocks) to try to best capture neighborhood characteristics. Information contained in the various transportation plans and studies that had been previously conducted helped interpret trends captured by the Census data.

In addition to Census data and previous transportation plans, the Newtown Pike Extension project team conducted studies that helped focus on the Southend Park area. The Corridor Plan conducted public meetings, focus groups, and a windshield survey; and identified the Southend Park area as in need of redevelopment. The Community Impact Assessment identified the specific residents that would be directly impacted by the project and their characteristics, and characterized neighborhoods/areas indirectly impacted by the Newtown Pike Extension. Later, the project team interviewed each person living in the Southend Park area to provide input to the social needs assessment. These studies helped focus on the Southend Park area and how it would be adversely impacted by the project.

Identification of Alternatives

Proposals from the 1960s and early 1970s ran the Newtown Pike Extension directly through the Southend Park area (Davis Bottom, along DeRoode Street) and displaced up to 140 families. In 1977, the Kentucky Department of Transportation (now Kentucky Transportation Cabinet) endorsed an alignment slightly to the east of previous alignments, bordering the Southend Park area along Combs Street, and with considerably fewer displacements (36 families). By 1997, when the project obtained new funding, the railroad spur that ran parallel to Combs Street had been abandoned, facilitating the use of the alignment along that street. The three build alternatives analyzed in the EIS are slight variations along that alignment and took into account project impacts on two 4(f) sites, one of which was the Southend Park, a recreational facility located on the western portion of the Southend Park area. So, the immediate considerations that led to the build alternatives considered were the abandoned rail spur and the need to avoid the Southend Park 4(f) site. However, impacts to communities had been also taken into consideration, in the sense that alternatives crossing through the Southend Park area had been considered in the past and abandoned, at least in part due to the impact on neighborhoods such as Davistown and Irishtown.

Analysis of Impacts and Mitigation

The Corridor Plan recognized the lack of affordable housing in the project area, the poor conditions of existing housing, and recommended the development of new housing to accommodate existing and new residents. The Community Impact Assessment identified and described both the direct and indirect impacts of the road to the communities. Both studies made use of extensive public involvement in identifying impacts, including public meetings, focus groups, household surveys, and a housing finance study (see Effective Practices).

Impacts on Land Values and Development Opportunities

While the Newtown Pike Extension would result in some displacements of both residential and commercial properties in Davistown and two other neighborhoods, the main impacts identified were the indirect impacts of the road.

The Newtown Pike Extension build alternatives would generate development opportunities for the surrounding neighborhoods. Areas along intersections with the new road would have greater visibility and land value. Although increases in land value can have a positive impact on neighborhoods, in the case of the low-income community of Davistown, the Community Impact Assessment conducted in 2002 determined that it would likely displace residents, especially low-income renters. The Community Impact Assessment also identified the absence of replacement housing in areas neighboring the Southend Park area. Without mitigation, build alternatives would accelerate expulsion of Southend Park area residents through increased land values and redevelopment. At the same time, the no-action alternative would see the decline and eventual disappearance of the Southend Park area: uncertainty had been stifling housing and infrastructure improvements and imposing an unfair burden on the neighborhood.

Impacts on Community Cohesion

The Southend Park community expressed interest in remaining in the area. Project surveys had also identified the high level of interdependence among its members. Nearly half of the residents had family in the area and low-income neighbors often share resources. Both the build alternatives and the no-action alternative would result in the disruption of family and community ties. In addition, because of lack of replacement low-income housing in the neighborhood (as elsewhere in Lexington), residents would lose the opportunity to walk to major service-job providers in the downtown area and at the University of Kentucky, and would be forced to cut ties with a location where many had been residing for decades. Because these impacts would be largely concentrated in the low-income, minority area of the Southend Park neighborhood, the project team concluded that, without mitigation, the benchmark for disproportionate impacts had been met.

Re-Development Plan

The project team determined that a redevelopment option that was capable of keeping residents in the Southend Park area was necessary. Due to the low-income level of the residents and the lack of affordable decent, safe, and sanitary replacement housing in the project area, last-resort housing provisions were adopted. These included:

Creation of a community land trust to protect neighborhood boundaries from undesired development and to remove the cost of land from the base house price to preserve affordability.

The unique urban village and community land trust strategies are described further in this section.

Housing Finance Analysis

To complete the Urban Village Plan, a consultant team was hired to conduct a Southend Park Housing Finance Analysis. The survey was conducted between November 2004 and January 2005. The purpose of the survey was to assess housing needs and housing affordability to determine what relocation assistance would be necessary for the community.

Twenty-two (22) households on DeRoode, McKinley, Patterson, and Combs Streets were surveyed. The survey concluded that all existing housing units should be replaced and those families being displaced should have the opportunity to relocate back into the neighborhood in new housing.

Southend Park Urban Village. With the intention of creating long-term, sustainable, affordable housing and preserving community cohesion, the project team developed the Southend Park Urban Village plan in close collaboration with the neighborhood liaison and residents. Three Urban Village concepts were developed by LFUCG planners and their consultants, and presented to residents in a series of three public meetings. Comments received by the residents led to the choice of one of the three concepts proposed.

The Urban Village consists of a redevelopment effort in the 25 acres that constitute the Southend Park area. While 27 residential structures and 4 active commercial enterprises in Davistown would be displaced by the Southend Park Urban Village; displaced residents, both from the urban village and from the road construction, would be offered affordable housing in the Urban Village. The Urban Village would include about 100 housing units. Replacement housing would be enough to accommodate all those displaced by the roadway and the Urban Village itself, as well as others wishing to return to or become new neighbors in the Village. The section 4(f) Southend Park would also be rebuilt as part of the Urban Village Plan and the Nathanial Mission would be accommodated. In addition to residential properties, commercial properties were included in the Urban-Village plan. Zoning for the area would change from light industrial to residential and mixed use.

Community Land Trust. The project team considered that affordability and community cohesion would be destroyed if a traditional transfer of ownership to displaced residents took place. For this reason, a land ownership project team comprised of Federal, State, and LFUCG staff evaluated several alternatives for potential land ownership. The evaluation concluded that a community land trust was the best way to ensure long-term, sustainable, and affordable housing for the residents.

To guide the formation of the land trust, a steering committee was formed with representatives of the Southend Park area, Lexington citizens, local and State agencies, and the Nathaniel Mission. Through a series of 21 meetings, the steering committee developed the Community Land Trust By-Laws.[i] The Community Land Trust was structured so that resident owners will own their homes with a joint renewable 99-year lease on the land.

Many details regarding the Community Land Trust were gradually addressed by the project team. For example, land owners needed additional incentives to compensate for their loss of the land. Also, the Community Land Trust financial sustainability needed to be addressed since it would include both start-up and operating costs.

Table 2. Impacts of Newtown Pike Extension build alternatives.

  Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3
Right-of-Way (estimated acres) 35.2 35.5 35.5
Residential structures displaced (road and urban village) 37 36 36
Commercial structures displaced (road and urban village) 13 15 16
Direct and indirect historic structures impacted 1; 2 0; 3 0; 3
Section 4 (f) properties directly and indirectly impacted 2; 0 1; 1 1; 1


Preferred Alternative

All three proposed build facilities would have similar impacts on the Southend Park area, with 36-37 residential structures displaced and 13-16 commercial structures displaced. All three alternatives would have adverse indirect impacts on the Southend Park area, and all three would include the Southend Park Urban Village as mitigation (Table 2).

The choice of build Alternative 1 was guided more by safety and traffic considerations, than by impacts on the Southend Park area. With the development of the Southend Park Urban Village Plan and the community land trust as mitigation for direct and indirect environmental justice impacts, the Newtown Pike Extension project would not have an unfair burden on any neighborhood.

Effective Practices and Lessons Learned

The use of multiple and varied methods for collecting community data can provide valuable information for decision making. Various surveys were conducted at different times during project design and implementation that proved valuable for decision making. Surveys conducted for the Community Impact Assessment and the Southend Park Urban Village Plan were key to adequately characterize the communities impacted and their residents.

Public-involvement Tools Used to support the Newtown Pike Extension Project

Various tools were used to reach out to the community in early planning and throughout design:

  • Committees involving Federal, State, and city agencies as well as community representatives: An Advisory Committee helped develop the Corridor Plan early on in the project; and a Steering Committee was formed to develop the land trust by-laws. The Steering Committee met 21 times in order to develop the bylaws.

  • Public meetings and focus groups: Numerous public meetings were held throughout the environmental study and included neighborhood associations meetings, open houses, property owner's meetings, and renter's meetings. Four public meetings were held to solicit input in developing the Corridor Plan. Small discussion groups or "break-out" sessions were held during the public meetings to foster a less intimidating environment and encourage more openness on the part of the residents. Residents were encouraged to gather in neighborhood-defined groups during these break-out sessions to discuss issues and provide input to the planning process. Focus groups covering specific projects were conducted for development of the Corridor Plan and for development of the Southend Park Urban Village Plan.

  • Community Unity Days: An initial Community Unity day was held at Carver Neighborhood Center on June 28, 2003. Approximately 150 people attended to enjoy a cookout, play games, and hear more about the Southend Park Urban Village Plan concepts. Several former residents, and family members of current residents, came to the Community Unity Day and expressed interest in moving back into the neighborhood when homes become available. This first Community Unity Day was so successful that it was held annually.

  • Surveys: Both the Community Impact Assessment and the Southend Park Urban Village Plan used community surveys to profile residents and community relationships. Development of the Urban Village Plan also included a household survey focused on assessing housing needs and housing affordability. Types of questions in the Community Impact Assessment survey included: length of residency, whether family lives in the neighborhood, likes and dislikes about the neighborhood, important community resources, mode of transportation to work, and familiarity with the project.

    In 2006, an additional survey was conducted as part of a social needs assessment, aimed at better understanding met and unmet needs of Southend Park area residents. The project team, under the supervision of an urban anthropologist, interviewed every person living in the Southend Park area. Questions were open-ended and respondents were encouraged to provide an oral history of the area. The interviews were recorded, but kept confidential with only the anthropologist reviewing the content. This process gave neighbors who might have been shy in other settings a real voice, it allowed team members to really know the neighbors they interviewed and, as a result, personal bonds developed. A business survey was also conducted with businesses in and near the project area to better understand the potential impacts of the Newtown Pike Extension on local businesses.

  • Neighborhood liaison: A liaison from the community was added to project team in 2002 and acted as a facilitator between the project team and community residents. The liaison was instrumental in building trust with residents and getting them involved in the Southend Park Urban Village Plan process.
  • Newsletter and website: Early in the process (2001-2002) newsletters were used to provide information to the public and solicit their participation. In 2002, a website was launched to disseminate information about the project.

An important source of information on the community for the project team was the continuous interaction provided through the community liaison hired in 2002. The liaison was identified through the public outreach process. Meetings were held every 3rd Thursday of the month at the Carver Neighborhood Center, just outside the Southend Park area, often with dinner provided to facilitate informal interaction and provide an incentive for community participation.

Truly engaging the affected community requires building trust. A variety of public involvement tools were used at various stages of the planning and design process to make sure that the affected community not only understood plans and decisions made but participated in developing those plans and making those decisions. As the Corridor Plan was being developed, for example, four public meetings were held to educate the public about the road and the planning process, and to solicit input from the residents on their vision for the future. The Nathaniel United Methodist Mission was instrumental at this stage in reaching out to Davistown residents, and making sure that all those that sought the Mission were aware of the project and of the importance of their involvement. The Southend Park Urban Village Plan relied on a series of focus-group meetings and a door-to-door survey of neighborhood residents to collect their views on mitigation options.

In 2002, a neighborhood liaison was brought into the project to help with communication between the project team and the Southend Park residents. The project team faced a sense of distrust from people of the Southend Park area. This might have been partially the result of decades of neglect from public authorities, but might have also been partially the result of even more decades of discussion with inaction on the Newtown Pike Extension. The constant threat of the Newtown Pike Extension had created a climate of uncertainty that deterred property owners and city agencies from investing in the Davistown neighborhood. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of housing units in Davistown decreased 45 percent. There seems to be consensus among the project team and community members alike that if no action had been taken, the Southend Park area would have disappeared in the near future, against their will. The project team understood that to engage the community in discussions of mitigation options would require establishing trust in communication between the project team and the community and that a liaison could facilitate this process. A liaison that is able to take the time to listen to the community and understand their concerns and is not perceived as having interests other than the successful mediation of the process can help facilitate communication and community engagement.

Existing service providers to the community can help with community engagement. During the process of engagement of the community with the project, care should be taken to avoid displacement of existing service providers. Temporary community liaisons and communication structures can prove valuable in facilitating community participation and communication between the project team and affected communities. However, these tools are temporary, and displacement of existing service providers could disrupt community support services that would otherwise be valuable resources to the community in the long run.

"Champions" for the project can help overcome obstacles. Adequately engaging communities and mitigating adverse impacts during the long process of design and implementation of transportation projects requires devoted personnel and considerable resources. Unexpected issues and challenges arise daily and can drag the process through unnecessary lengths of time. The Newtown Pike Extension benefited during several periods from "champions" of the project, personnel capable of moving the project forward through legal and procedural requirements. These "champions" were ideally housed in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. As the State transportation department, they were best positioned to interact with local governments and the community on one side, and Federal authorities on the other.

Proper identification and characterization of social ties is important for the identification of adverse impacts to communities. Neighborhoods were used as the geographic area of reference for identification of environmental justice populations and for characterization of disproportionately high and adverse impacts. The interactions and interdependence between neighbors are an important factor in determining the geographic extent of impacts and in understanding the impacts of displacement to the social cohesion of communities and the importance of keeping communities together. In the case of the Newtown Pike Extension, the project team found it important to take the analysis a step further and understand the characteristics of a community within the Davistown neighborhood: the area called Davis Bottom, lower Davistown or Southend Park area. This area had been identified in transportation plans as being a minority and low-income population.

To understand the extent of interdependence within neighborhoods or within areas of neighborhoods, the Newtown Pike Extension project team conducted a Community Impact Assessment in 2003 and surveyed the Southend Park area in 2005. These studies generated information about the area not available through Census data, whether because some of the data was not collected at the geographic level needed to characterize sub areas of the neighborhood (e.g., poverty data for the Southend Park area) or because the type of data needed to understand community cohesion and define community boundaries is not typically collected by Census instruments.

This care with properly identifying and characterizing interdependent communities allowed the project team to better understand the extent to which the Newtown Pike Extension would have disproportionately high and adverse impacts on the Southend Park area when compared to other communities.

Mitigating adverse impacts may require tailored solutions. The project team understood that Southend Park residents had the desire to remain in the area, and that they lived in a tight community, interdependent on each other for their daily needs. The main challenge in offering the community a feasible option to remain in the area was to guarantee affordable housing. The choice of a land trust was a way of achieving housing affordability. By not owning the land, only the house, the housing costs would be reduced for residents. Use of the land would be guaranteed by a renewable 99-year lease. The choice did find some resistance by residents. The idea of not owning the land, particularly for resident owners that had previously owned their land, was not an easy idea to accept. However, residents have had a voice and a role in helping develop the redevelopment plan to address their concerns and gradually increased their acceptance of the proposed mitigation.


For the Community

The Southend Park Urban Village Plan and the incorporation of a land trust to ensure housing affordability offered current residents an opportunity to maintain community cohesion and stay in the Southend Park area, potentially also benefitting from the expected revitalization of the area.

For the Agency

Previous attempts to develop the Newtown Pike Extension met with community resistance and often garnered political opposition. The development of a mitigation option capable of addressing the affected-community aspirations and developed with active community participation made community residents partners of the project rather than opponents.


Federal Highway Administration and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Newtown Pike Extension. Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. Final Environmental Impact Statement. Section 4(f) Evaluation. 2007.

Federal Highway Administration in consultation with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Newtown Pike Extension. Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. Record of Decision. 2007.

Clay-Young, Pam. How We Got From There to Here: A History of the Newtown Pike Extension Project. 2012.

Newtown Pike Extension website:

Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. Southend Park Urban Village Plan. 2003.

Logsdon, Phil. "Without an Unfair Burden." Newtown Pike Extension Project. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. 2011.


David Whitworth
Federal Highway Administration

Pam Clay-Young
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Kenneth Demus
Southend Park neighborhood representative

[i] The Community Land Trust By-laws are incorporated in the Newtown Pike Extension Record of Decision, available through the project website at:

Updated: 10/19/2015
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000