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‘Buckner Mall’ razed to make room for turn lane at Ky. 393

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Bulldozer drops into hidden cistern during demolition

By Marion Taylor

Demolition began on Monday of the five white buildings along Ky. 146 at the intersection of Ky. 393 in Buckner, known as Buckner Mall.
As he watched the buildings crumble Monday morning, Judge-Executive David Voegele said demolition is a sight he’s waited to see for five years.
In April, members of Oldham County Fiscal Court decided to purchase the property along Ky. 146 for $65,000 from landowner Joseph Clifton. The price is $6,000 less than its appraised value.
The cost will be paid over three years.
After the site is cleared and prepped, crews will expand Ky. 146 to include a left-hand turn lane at Ky. 393 that will be large enough to accommodate seven to nine cars.
Voegele has described the intersection as a “terrible bottleneck” that has created “untold frustration” in the area for many years.
“That will let people who are traveling east on Ky. 146 pass on through the area without waiting,” he said.
The five buildings of the Buckner Mall, which Voegele said are dangerously close to the highway on one side and to the train tracks on the other, have been around since the 1950s. They have been used for sleeping quarters, and housed an ice cream parlor and appliance and furniture stores.
“They had junk, appliances, bicycles, a rusted-out boat, a trailer sitting around,” Voegele said in April. “It was in terrible condition, and people in the neighborhood were very concerned about safety and the uninviting look of the place.”
Jerry Sanford, previous owner of two buildings, including the home of his business, Sanford and Sons, said the county has been trying to get rid of the mall for years.
“I knew it was coming,” he said, adding that the county tried to condemn the property three or four years ago. “They were going to get it anyway.”
Sanford has sold used washers and dryers, lawn mowers and other items for nine years out of one building, and uses the other for storage. He also sold Christmas trees.
Starting Monday morning, two cement block buildings that were once a gas station were demolished. An abandoned 18-wheeler was removed along with an enormous amount of trash, including washing machines, refrigerators, bedding, a rusted out boat, bicycles and excess wood.
Deputy judge-executive John Black said the county will soon have funding to build the turn lane in Buckner Mall’s place.
Preparations for the turn lane also include clearing debris around the railroad and having LG&E move the wooden electrical poles that currently line Ky. 146.
La Grange resident Debby Oldson, a 20-year La Grange resident, said the area is going to look different but that it will be a big improvement.
She said traffic gets bottle-necked in the afternoon at Ky. 146 and Ky. 393.  
The turn lane is expected to relieve this traffic congestion.   
County engineer Beth Stuber said the demolition process should be finished within a few days.
As crews crushed the buildings Monday afternoon, a bulldozer dropped into a cistern hidden below one structure.
Officials from the road department said no one was injured and a tow truck helped free the 
bulldozer.
As for Sanford, he has no plans to relocate his business, although it gave residents on a budget the chance to buy used 
equipment.
 “I’ve built up, over the years, a good clientele,” he said. “Some people can’t afford new stuff.”
Voegele is optimistic that clearing the mall and building a turn lane will benefit the community. He hopes to obtain state funds for the turn lane.
Otherwise, the county will build the lane without state assistance, he said.

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E-mail us about this story at: mtaylor@oldhamera.com.