Help Save Our Local History

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In the past few weeks I have undertaken a project to attempt to save a local historic property. This has been brought to the attention of the Versailles Kentucky Lexington Road Corridor Subcommittee, for which I am a member, and the president of the Blue Grass Trust.

This school building was originally built in 1927, with additions in 1952, 1983, and 1995. When construction was complete in 1927, the building served as the Versailles High School. In 1963, follwing the completion of a new structure, the property became the Versailles Junior High School. After undergoing a name change in 1983, Woodford County Middle School remained as a tenant in the property untill 2005. After 2005 , Simmons Elementary School moved in the building for a year while thier property underwent renovations. A Board of Education surplus auction sold the land to local developer Matt Mathews. Matthews had intent of creating a bussiness park out of the school football field.

Matthews mananged to demolish the 1952 additon of the Gymnasium and football field in 2006 before going belly up on the project. After the Equestrian Park plan fell through, Kentucky Bank took possesion of the property in 2007.

Since 2007, the building has been on the market through NAIssacs. The bank, nor the real estate company have kept up the property, with the exception of mowing the lawn. Because of this, a copper theft occured in 2011 and the building has sufferd significantlly from water damage caused by a failing flat roof.

With all potential buyers for the property having "disappeared ," Kentucky Bank has opted to demolish the property. As pictured, the Asbestos abatement began on Tuesday, September 26th. Kentucky Bank will proceed with demolition following this abatement.

I still have hope that this property can be saved! Not only does this building serve as a visual divide between the residential and industrial sections of Lexington Rd. But it is a building with large historical significance and is a huge part of our local culture. 

As a subcommittee, we have discussed giving buyers all the needed tax incentives and credits to make this an appealing project. We have lots of ideas circulating for reuse options and I know this property could have an exciting future. We just need more time for that to happen.

It makes me sick to think that this 54,000 Sqft. structure will be demolished. And for what? A 5th auto parts store, or another bank? So many Woodford Countians attended school here at one point and the building holds a special place in our hearts. We posess fond memories of our time here, whether it be in the 500 seat Auidtorium, the basement level Wood Working Shop, top floor Library, the leveled Gymnasium, or the Sea Green Cafeteria.

While an extensive renovation has to occur for the building to even return to what it once was, grant monies are available for this, depending on what the building is converted into. I will be sure to keep you posted as this process continues. There is strength in numbers and we need all the help we can get. Anything you could do to help is greatly appreciated!



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