A face-lift is coming for Virginia Hylton Park, a shady oasis in the center of Lexington.
The park “is showing its age” after heavy use since it opened in the mid-1980s, Councilwoman Hazel Livingston said.
Playgrounds and picnic sites at the 12.5-acre park are a popular gathering spot for families and workers in nearby offices and stores.
“It needs some love,” Mayor Steve MacDougall said of the park. “We want to really dress it up.”
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The condition of the park – the oldest in the steadily growing community – is being discussed now because town leaders are sprucing up downtown to help transform it into a specialty retail hub.
A new 900-seat amphitheater for concerts and other gatherings is expected to attract more attention to the park across Church Street.
The park expanded by 5 acres during the past decade as Town Hall acquired abutting homes piecemeal.
Part of that expansion is slated to become parking for the amphitheater, but there’s also room for new features, officials said.
Town leaders are kicking around ideas like addition of a splash pad and children’s garden, but will await recommendations from planners before going forward with changes for the park.
New features won’t bring a dramatic change, with updates likely done in phases instead of all at once, officials said.
The park adjoins Town Hall and Lexington County headquarters on the south side of downtown. It’s named for a former town leader who pushed for its creation.
Other features include small sections planted with flowers such as irises and camellias as well as a pond stocked with koi fish.
Whatever changes come, its current name will be kept instead of leased to a sponsor for income as is likely with the amphitheater, town leaders said.
“We’re looking at remodeling it like you would do for a home after so many years,” Livingston said.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483