Whitesburg KY

Plans for KYVA bldg. to be shown March 23

The Letcher County Conservation District hopes Whitesburg residents and city officials will take a look at an architect’s rendering of a new office building that would replace the old KYVA Motor Company if the plan is approved by the Whitesburg City Council.

“We’re anxious to look at the architect’s rendering of it and to see if they have done what we asked them to do which is incorporate as much of the old building into their new design as possible,” said Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft.

The conservation district is asking Whitesburg residents what they think about tearing down the old KYVA building the district now owns. The 83-year-old building was listed on National Register of Historic Places two years ago as part of the Whitesburg Historic District listing.

If the general public approves the building’s demolition, the conservation district will ask the city council to approve construction of a new building which would use brick from the old one.

The conservation district bought the building in September 2006 for $85,000 and decided it was more feasible to tear it down and rebuild.

In May 2007, Craft declared a moratorium on the issuance of a work permit that would allow contractors to begin demolition.

Ron Brunty, chairman of the conservation district’s board of directors, said the district has scheduled a public forum for 5:30 p.m. on March 23 at the Whitesburg City Hall “to see if we can find a solution to a problem that is holding us up .”

This past fall, the conservation district selected Kenar Architectural of Frankfort to design a new office building. Craft said in January that he still did not want the building to be demolished.

At the conservation district’s meeting on March 12 Katherine Evans, an architect with Kenar, presented the board with renderings of a 2,088 square-foot structure which she estimated would cost $281,000 to complete including demolition costs. The proposed design includes a reception area, office, storage room, workroom, kitchen, board meeting room and garage. The parking lot can hold 11 vehicles.

The design includes a glass front with room around the building for landscaping.

“It could be a showcase for Letcher County and Whitesburg if they will let us,” said Brunty.

Brunty said the purpose of the public forum is to give “anybody and everybody that is curious about what we are about and what we are trying to do” a chance to meet the board members and ask questions.

“We’re not malicious toward anyone,” said Brunty. “We don’t have a hidden a genda.”

Brunty said people who are unable to attend Monday’s meeting can stop by the conservation district’s office, located at 30-B Childers Road, and look at the renderings.

Brunty said the public forum is especially for those who don’t want to see the old structure go. Brunty said conservation district officials hope to learn why people think the KYVA building should be left standing.

Brunty said a new building is needed because the conservation district has outgrown the space it currently rents. He said the conservation district also needs to become self sufficient, and that owning its own building would help it achieve that goal.

After buying the building, the conservation district discovered that renovating the building would cost more than $400,000, according to Brunty. He said it would cost $158,000 in materials alone just to repair the existing walls and floor.

According the National Register of Historic Places, the KYVA building was built in 1925 and “was the local Oakland, Willis and Pontiac auto dealer and also sold International trucks .”

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