A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Independence finalizes purchase of 25.6 acres on KY 17 from county for Public Services facility, other uses

By Patricia A. Scheyer
NKyTribune reporter

The city of Independence finalized a purchase of 25.6 acres at 5200 and 5220 Ky 17.

The land was purchased from the county for a purchase price of $380,000, but the cost was reduced to $368,600 because the city didn’t use a broker so the county waived the 3 percent city’s portion of the broker fee. The land was previously the site planned for a new jail, property that was bought by the county in 2006, but wasn’t used for that purpose.

“We are purchasing the site for two reasons,” said Independence Mayor Christopher Reinersman. “Primarily we anticipate using the site as a future Public Services building site. Our Public Services shop is currently in an old firehouse on the western edge of the city. Although plans aren’t immediate, as the current facility is still in usable condition, this will ultimately let us move our Public Services department to a central location an out of the residential neighborhood it is currently in. The configuration of this site allows us to build a building and storage yard area that is largely hidden from public view, as we plan to leave the existing tree screen along the roadway.”

He added that this will also be a grade-and-fill project, which means the city will be able to use the quality fill dirt that comes from when streets are completely replaced and the concrete is torn up.

“The topography of the site is very challenging, with a lot of steep areas and low areas,” said Reinersman. “We’ve had our engineer do some rough analysis but we won’t truly know what we have until we raise up and grade much of the site. Regardless, in the end I expect to have a pretty significant area for public use. Time will tell what it ends up being. That won’t happen for years.”

Reinersman said that dirt will be used to fill in parts of the new property so that in the future the city would be open to installing some walking trails or playing fields or something similar that would benefit the citizens of Independence. Although he doesn’t know the proportions of what will be used for the public works facility, currently the building they use sits on about 1 1/2 acres, so he doesn’t think they will use much more than two acres. He anticipates other uses for the remaining usable land.

It would all depend on what the city can accomplish with the grading, while keeping all environmental factors as a top concern. Reinersman said that because the land is at the center of the city, the ‘front door’ of the city as they think of it, and they would rather keep the area very green, adding nothing that would increase the intensity of the traffic in the area.It is also adjacent to an unincorporated portion, one of many in the city.

“That roadway was always intended to be a bypass, and our planning efforts have largely focused on keeping development, particularly commercial development, at the major intersections like McCallum and Harris or Shaw Pike,” said Reinersman. “The last thing we want to do is turn it into a congested ‘Beechmont Avenue’ type area with significant traffic and high accident rates due to many vehicles entering and exiting the road.”

He added that he was grateful to Judge Kris Knochelmann and the entire fiscal court for working with the city of Independence on the purchase of the land.

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