Downtown loop demo

A worker pilots a telescopic lift vehicle away from a metal building being stripped of its siding Tuesday morning near the intersection of South Fourth Street and Glendale Road in Murray. This building is one of several being demolished in advance of utility relocation work connected to the Downtown Loop project that will connect South 12th Street (U.S. 641 South) to the downtown area of the city.

MURRAY — Little by little, it would seem that anyone who believed the proposed Business Loop project in Murray was a pipe dream might have to start accepting a new reality.

In the past week, a project that has been discussed in the city since the early 2000s seemed to take another large step toward construction. This is evidenced by several buildings existing along the proposed route being demolished.

“We had to do this part before we could move into the next phase, which is relocation of utilities,” said City of Murray Director or Planning Jeremy Buchanan, who said much of the work began late last week, during the Fourth of the July holiday period. “Yeah, it seems like people haven’t really been noticing it too much, and that might be why.”

All of the buildings being destroyed no longer are in use. This includes a house and former business building at the intersection of South Fourth Street and Glendale Road. A metal storage building on the same property began being stripped of its siding Tuesday and was nearly gone by the end of the day. 

Buchanan also said a building many have referred to as “an eyesore,” a cinder-block building at the intersection of Main Street and Industrial Road on the east side of downtown was removed last week. Now, nothing but a smooth, dirt-covered lot remains.

The Almo firm Siteworks is handling the removal. Siteworks was awarded the job after submitting the lowest of three bids for the project prior to the March 27 meeting of the Murray City Council. That bid was for $18,992 and was chosen over two other firms. 

The city council approved the bid. In all, seven buildings are slated for removal.

“It is a good step for us,” Buchanan said. “These will be for the city’s water and sewer lines, and when you get those moved, then it makes it easier to work on the road itself. The next step with that will be trying to get some assistance from the state to get some money to build the road.”

The project will start at the intersection of South Fourth and Glendale, then move through River Road, which is immediately east of the two buildings being removed from the Fourth and Glendale intersection. From there, the road will work its way to Industrial Road downtown. The path will also require crossing railroad tracks owned by the Kentucky West Tennessee Railway.

In August of last year, David Roberts, who was planning director for several years before retiring at the end of the year, told the council that all issues with easements connected to the KWT Railway were handled, which made moving the project forward much easier. 

City of Murray Mayor Bob Rogers said Tuesday that he is happy to see this project reach this point.

“I’m glad to see the progress. Now, maybe we can work on getting some of this traffic eased on 12th Street that goes all the way through town,” Rogers said of how the forthcoming four-laning of 641 South from the city’s southern city limits to Hazel is sure to increase traffic flow even more than what exists now. “We need something to take that load off, especially with trucks passing through town.”

Rogers also wanted to address the forthcoming demolition of an old train depot building along Poplar Street downtown. He said the KWT Railway recently went before the city’s Code Enforcement Committee concerning that building, which had been condemned by the city. He said that building is the property of the railway, not the city. 

“We’ve been having some problems with people getting inside it and we don’t need that, because that’s dangerous to do. You don’t need people getting hurt or maybe trying to do things they don’t need to be doing,” he said.

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