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A ceremony to celebrate the declaration of Old Frankfort Pike as a National Scenic Byway, and to officially open the Visitor Viewing Area near the Secretariat statue ttok place Oct. 20, 2021. (Photo by Amy Wallot)

It’s a place unlike any other on Earth.

So beautiful that it was designated as a National Scenic Byway earlier this year by the Federal Highway Administration.

So beautiful that it is home to a brilliant statue of a brilliant horse, the legendary Secretariat, as envisioned by artist Jocelyn Russell. A 3,800-pound bronze Secretariat as we remember him best, larger than life with Ron Turcotte aboard, flying down the track on his way to winning the Triple Crown.

This week, in a dedication ceremony delayed by the pandemic, local and state government representatives and neighbors cut a ribbon to celebrate the declaration of Old Frankfort Pike as a National Scenic Byway, and to officially open the Visitor Viewing Area that shows off the road, the statue and the surrounding countryside.

The statue and the Visitor Viewing Area are the vision of the Lexington-Frankfort Scenic Corridor Inc., and the Triangle Foundation.

“It is my honor, as the Chair of the Lexington-Fayette Scenic Corridor Board of Directors, to dedicate this Scenic Pull-off and Visitor Viewing Area, and to have the ribbon cutting for the Old Frankfort Pike National Scenic Byway,” Tracy Farmer said. “I do this in honor of the late Don Ball and his wife, Mira.”

This vision was a collaboration of local governments in Fayette, Franklin and Woodford counties, the state and federal governments, the Triangle Foundation, and the Lexington-Fayette Scenic Corridor Inc., a neighborhood association that has been working for the conservation, preservation and enhancement of this unique scenic and historic rural area in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region since 1988. Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells was in attendance and spoke during the dedication ceremony.

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Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells speaks during ceremony to celebrate the declaration of Old Frankfort Pike as a National Scenic Byway, and to officially open the Visitor Viewing Area near the Secretariat statue Oct. 20, 2021. (Photo by Amy Wallot)

“Look around you. These green fields, the thoroughbred industry represented by the magnificent Secretariat, the beauty of driving along Old Frankfort Pike … this is why we fight so hard to protect our beautiful countryside and the industry that sets us apart from the rest of the world,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “When I look at these green fields, in addition to thinking about their beauty, I think about the people who work in them, and the $2.3 billion agriculture contributes to our economy.”

The city’s Purchase of Development Rights program has protected 2,298 acres in the Old Frankfort Pike corridor from development; the Bluegrass Land Conservancy has protected an additional 4,031 acres.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said, “To be designated a national scenic byway is to be nationally recognized for what we already knew to be true: Old Frankfort Pike is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But it’s much more than a scenic drive or bike ride, and the new Visitor Viewing Area will help illustrate that story.”

The viewing area, located at the roundabout where Old Frankfort Pike meets Alexandria Drive, includes vehicle parking, a trail and interpretive panels that tell many stories of Old Frankfort Pike and the greater Lexington-Frankfort Scenic Corridor.

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