The Gratz Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) seeks to preserve, maintain, and further beautify Gratz Park as a walking park for Lexingtonians as well as visitors to Lexington to enjoy. All of the GPNA’s efforts are coordinated with the Parks and Recreation Department along with other LFUCG agencies when appropriate and necessary.
The Gratz Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) has been formally incorporated as a 501 (c)3 organization since 2002. The neighborhood association had existed for many years prior to that and was led during the 80’s and 90’s by Mrs. Lucy Crump, who was known as the mayor of Gratz Park. Even going back to the mid 1950’s when the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation was formed, the residents in the park were unified in their support of that organization and often worked on projects and fundraisers that benefitted the neighborhood as well as the BGT. Since the early 1980’s the neighborhood association has been responsible for funding projects that have totaled over $200,000. All fundraising proceeds go directly into park projects for the maintenance and improvement of the park.
During the last few years, the GPNA has had landscape gardens planted at both ends of the Kitchen building as well as in front of the Carnegie Center. The GPNA has also planted numerous replacement trees in the park and continues to repair the brick walks as needed. The Gratz Park neighbors were also responsible for putting the brick walks in the park, building a brick retaining wall beside the sidewalk at the Carnegie Center along Market Street, and installing the Gratz Park arch and gates behind the Carnegie Center.
The Gratz Park Neighborhood Association is currently focusing its efforts on restoring the historic fountain at the north end of the park. This fountain was a gift to the children of Lexington from the celebrated Lexington author, James Lane Allen. It has been in the park for 80 years and is in desperate need of a new pump, plumbing and electrical connections, and the statue itself needs to be repaired. Often referred to as the Fountain of Youth, it has long helped to identify Gratz Park as the unique gem that it is in downtown Lexington. With the cooperation and support of Parks and Recreation as well as the Office of Historic Preservation, the GPNA is turning all of its attention to insuring that this beautiful fountain survives and provides enjoyment for countless future generations.
The Gratz Park Fountain, which is a gift to the children of Lexington from renowned late nineteenth and early twentieth century writer James Lane Allen, has been in place since 1933. During these eight decades, the statue of the young boy and girl by New York sculptor, Joseph Pollia, has twice been damaged by vandals. The electrical service, the plumbing, and water filtration system are in desperate need of replacement. The Gratz Park Neighborhood Association is focusing all of its efforts to accomplishing this task. In cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Office of Historic Preservation, and other LFUCG entities, the GPNA is trying to obtain the resources to make this gift to our city continue giving for generations to come. To that end, the GPNA is pledging $30,000, but the cost of completing the entire project is much more. We need your help to accomplish this. At a total cost of $180,000 +/-, there are ample opportunities for your gift to help us.
James Lane Allen was born in Lexington in 1849. He went to the local schools and graduated from Transylvania. For a few years, he taught Greek and Latin in Transylvania preparatory school located in the Kitchen Building in Gratz Park. So the placement of the fountain in Gratz Park is very appropriate. Once his writing career took off, Allen moved to New York City. In 1915, Prof. M.A. Cassidy, Superintendent of Public Schools, declared Dec. 21 as a day to henceforth honor James Lane Allen in all the schools. Each year, the children sent him telegrams with poems and messages of best wishes. It is perhaps because of this gesture that James Lane Allen wanted to make a special gift to the children of Lexington.
As an organization whose sole purpose for existence is to care for the park, the Gratz Park Neighborhood Association wants to spearhead this effort to restore the fountain. However, this task is too large to tackle without help from friends of Gratz Park. If you have good memories of Gratz Park and want to see it remain a gem in the midst of our downtown, please help us with this fountain project.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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