Bluegrass Farms Spared Under New Airport Runway Plan

Less than two weeks after recommending a new runway at Lexington's Blue Grass Field, the city's Urban County Airport Board has reversed course, opting instead to expand the existing runway.

Since 1996, the airport board, the Federal Aviation Administration, Lexington's Fayette-Urban County Council, and residents have investigated, considered, and voiced opinions on as many as 15 different options that could change the airport's runway setup. The most drastic -- the new runway option -- would take a significant amount of land from nearby farms, including Jonabell and Shadwell. The least disruptive appears to be the option chosen, which will add to the current runway while putting plans for a new runway on hold.

The most recent plan, at an estimated cost of $28 million, would repair the existing runway, extend the runway by 340 feet at one end, and add two 600-foot safety zones at each end. The improvements will required some additional land, but not nearly the amount required if a second 7,000-foot runway was built parallel to the existing one.