The beauty of Nicholasville always has been its citizens, good people who work hard and care about their neighbors.
That beauty was not reflected in our Main Street, however. It was marred by uneven and broken sidewalks, drainage problems and narrow lanes. Wires crisscrossed every intersection, making it appear cluttered and outdated.
Businesses were leaving downtown, which confirmed it was not living up to expectations. So, civic, government and business leaders engaged the community in discussions about what they wanted to become.
Together, we undertook “Nicholasville Streetscape Phase 1: Main Street,” a $2.5 million renovation project to improve our downtown.
Main Street today is safer, easier to navigate, more sound, and remarkably more attractive. Gone are the tangles of wire. Ramps at the curbs make intersections safe for those using strollers, wheelchairs and just about everyone.
Sidewalks are even and brick and stone pavers add character and interest, especially for pedestrians. Benches invite people to relax and enjoy downtown.
It wasn’t an easy process. Winter weather hit early and hard in November 2010, just a month or so after construction began. And we had record rainfall in 2011.
Abandoned storage tanks had to be removed once discovered, and a crumbled culvert, through which Town Branch flows, had to be rebuilt. The state required the complex project to be done, but also paid for it, giving the city a bonus improvement.
All who used Main Street were inconvenienced. But downtown merchants were hit the hardest due to weather delays and the recession.
The good news is that merchants have the greatest opportunity to benefit from the beautiful new corridor, wider sidewalks and a rebirth of downtown. Our pride and dedication will be evident, and that will attract new businesses. The more businesses we have, the more customers will come.
We’re all relieved that this challenging phase of the streetscape project is coming to a close. Only minor items remain, which the contractor will complete soon. Next we’ll focus on recruiting new businesses and funding additional improvements.
We were so fortunate to receive state support for this project and have many people to thank, including County Judge Neal Cassidy, Representative Bob Damron, Senator Tom Buford, state transportation officials, as well as Governor Steve Beshear.
We’re planning a community celebration of our new downtown this spring, probably in connection with the upcoming 200th anniversary of Nicholasville’s incorporation.
In the meantime, thanks to everyone for your patience and endurance. Our future is exciting thanks to all of you.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in business administration, Russ Meyer has always been an entrepreneur. For twelve years he owned and operated Connemara Golf Links and later established an insurance business, which he still owns today.
Mayor Meyer also has had a strong commitment to the community, serving two terms as president of the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Kentucky YMCA.
Before being elected as mayor in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, Mayor Meyer served three terms on the city commission and was vice mayor.
He and his wife, Allison, have a son and a daughter.