Monday, December 8, 2008

Avon and thoughts on the other Rural Activity Centers

Following up on an earlier entry, I began thinking more about Avon and the activity happening around it.

Avon is one of the areas in Fayette County that has been designated a Rural Activity Center, or RAC for brevity. It, the Spindletop Research area, the Bluesky Industrial Park and the Airport were identified for the 1980 Comprehensive Plan, as concentrations of urban style (non residential) activity, that occurred in the rural portion of the county. At the time of that plan the Lexington Depot was operating at levels much less than in the post war years but had not become a target for closure.

The several industrial buildings had been used as justification for the location of a factory producing pre-cast concrete panels for the construction industry. This I-1 land and the military complex, a rail line with siding and a small retail component along with the sizable daily workforce, made this a very active area.

Bluesky Industrial and the Airport have both grown in activity in the past 30 years . Bluesky in particular has had pressure to not only expand in intensity but size as well. Land adjacent to the industrial park has been worked and filled with dirt (illegally) in hopeful preparation of an expansion.

The Airport is continually expanding as a growing city's airport should. The plans call for a parallel runway for commercial aviation and a new general aviation cross runway. I believe that the land is soon to be acquired for those purposes. The currently designated boundary cover only a portion of the airport property, that which is now in active use. Developers have , in prior plan deliberations, asked for an expansion to allow the building of hotel and meeting facilities to enhance the functionality of the airport. When this is coupled with the activity and the expanding acreage of Keeneland, the eventual RAC could be between three and four times the original size.

Lastly, Spindletop which was begun in the late '60s as an area for the University to do research in a park like setting, along the lines of North Carolina's Research Triangle. Presently the two largest research groups housed in the zoned area are the Asphalt Institute and the Council of State Governments. The University has some storage space out there and the World Equestrian Games organizing headquarters fill out the occupied buildings, so this is the least active RAC of the four. That is, of course, without the furious building and developing of the Horse Park, site of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

If these Games are as successful as hoped, then the Horse Park should be the RAC and the Spindletop area would be just an appendage of it. The Horse Park, being a State Park, should continue to try to attain a hotel for the property, as I am sure the neighboring landowners will continue to try to cash in on the parks success. The equine veterinary hospital across from the entrance to the Horse Park will also add the activity in the area.

To date, the Planning Commission has held the line and granted only small additions or adjustments to the RAC boundaries . The next Plan and the circumstances in which we may find ourselves could show that by continuing to "hold the line", we are holding to the days of "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver" in all their black and white, broadcast to this HD full color world.

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