Courthouse sidewalk to undergo renovations

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By Kenny Colston

A portion of Main Street in front of the county courthouse is getting a historic look, thanks to donations and money from the Oldham County Fiscal Court.

The project, initially approved by the Fiscal Court last week, will double the width of the sidewalks, as well as provide more landscaping and seating in the courthouse square section of Main Street in La Grange.

Called the Courthouse Square Boulevard Project, the idea is to take the sidewalk closest to Main Street in the courthouse square and give it a more historic look, County Judge-Executive David Voegele said.

“We’re bringing back the historical flavors with the brick pavers,” he said.

The project will cost more than $200,000, Voegele said, but the final number won’t be known until bidding is complete. He said the cost could be as high as $275,000 or as low as $200,000. But almost half the funds are already raised, Voegele said, thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Samuel Peyton Head Trust, an up to $10,000 yearly donation from the Hometown Pizza Every Slice Matters Foundation and a nearly $5,000 donation from KIPDA.

The Fiscal Court will provide the remaining balance of funds, Voegele said.

“I think this project is supported or we wouldn’t be able to get the money we have,” he said.

Magistrate Kevin Elridge, while supportive of the project, said magistrates could get a better idea of costs once bids roll in.

“Once the bids come in, we’ll take a second look at it,” he said.

The project will include doubling the current width of that sidewalk with historic brick pavers, designed to match the brick on the courthouse. It will also include adding new hardscape seating and landscaping along the sidewalk.

Other objectives are to disguise the CSX railroad control box on First and Main streets and to put a new sidewalk next to the parking spaces on Main.

Architect David Newman, with Bravura Architecture, will lead the project with help from Mel Milburn, a civil engineer. Before county magistrates approved the plan, Newman said the idea was to return to the “classical courthouse urban planning” look.

The new sidewalk will include three plazas, Newman said, with a central plaza in the middle, Newman said. The project will take any existing walls and landscaping and improve on it, he said. The project also will stay close to Main Street and not encroach up to the courthouse. Hometown Pizza’s donation will cover the planting and upkeep of the landscaping being included, Voegele said.

“We don’t want to disturb the existing trees or walkways up to the courthouse,” Newman said.

The project will take roughly two months to complete, Newman said. During that time, any events on the courthouse lawn will move closer to the courthouse, Voegele said. The farmer’s market will take place closer to the courthouse or will move to a closed Second Street, the judge said.

The Fiscal Court approved the plans unanimously by voice vote. A construction date has not yet been set.

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