Wednesday, November 29, 2000

City rejects road to mall

Florence to look at 2 other plans

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        FLORENCE — A plan for a $1.65 million connector to link Hopeful Church and Mall roads was voted down by City Council on Tuesday, along with a three-government plan to pay for it.

        After weeks of intense public opposition, council voted 4-2 Tuesday to reject a road that would have started near Cayton Road and extended southeast to Exchange Drive. Instead, council voted to explore two alternatives.

        The connector was intended to alleviate congestion in the Florence Mall area.

        “I am glad we're going to pursue the alternatives available to us,” said Mayor Diane Ewing Whalen.

        In turning down the plan, council effectively broke up a partnership of the city, Boone County Fiscal Court and the Kentucky Department of Transportation. Each would have kicked in about $550,000.

        Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore said the road would have been a rare opportunity for the city, county and state to cooperate on a project that he thought would benefit the whole county and included donated rights-of-way.

        “We have such limited resources to use,” Mr. Moore said. “We cannot afford to build roads on our own.”

        But to residents of Chelsea Square, who would have seen the road come through their west-side neighborhood, the decision was an early Christmas present.

        “There truly is a God,” said resident Diane Thoman. “It's been a long battle. The final outcome is yet to come.”

        Council has two other proposals to consider:

        • A road from Cayton Road east to Mall Road near the north entrance to Florence Mall. The road itself would cost about $800,000; that does not include the price of gaining rights-of-way and easements.

        • A road extending from Hopeful Church along Rosetta Drive to near Preakness Drive. The potential problem is that Rosetta lies in a 100-year floodplain.

        Tuesday's vote means the city may have to wait another two years to have a crack at state money.

        “If it takes two more years to get funding from the state, it gives future councils time to raise the money,” Councilman Dale Stephens said.

        Mr. Moore said the city will have to convince the county the other two choices are worth the extra money.

        “This is Florence's project,” Mr. Moore said. “I do think it's upon them to demonstrate whether one of those routes is efficient and safer and justifies more taxpayer dollars.”


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