Shoe Factory

The old shoe factory building, located on Rowley Avenue in Vanceburg.

VANCEBURG -- Two major projects are currently underway in the city.

Vanceburg Mayor Matt Ginn said crews began work on both the clean-up of the old shoe factory building on Rowley Street and the building of a new sidewalk along Fairlane Drive.

According to Ginn, Wireman Construction is currently working to remove trees and windows from the factory in order to be able to tear it down.

"They're removing trees so they can get the bucket trucks in," he said. "They're removing windows, which should take about two weeks. Then, they will be able to start removing the building."

Ginn said he wants the public to understand the project is a clean-up and not a demolition project.

"We're cleaning up the area," he said. "The building has become a danger over the years -- we've had children playing in there and they could easily get hurt. With these grants, we can clean up the area and use it for other purposes."

The clean-up of the building will cost about $250,000. The project has been funded through a $200,000 Environmental Agency grant and a $50,000 grant from the Cleaner Commonwealth Fund.

The funds were awarded in 2015, but the project had to go through several paperwork hurdles before it could begin.

About 75 percent of the building's roof has caved in. There is also asbestos in the construction materials.

The building which sits on the west end of the town originally housed L.V. Marks Shoe Company. It was purchased by Karl Kegley, a local businessman in the mid-1940s, according to Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel.

Kegley opened a surplus operation that ran through the Cold War. He would purchase truckloads of military surplus items from auctions and resell them to businesses around the country. He dealt locally and internationally in his business.

Ginn said the city is working on several ideas for the property once it has been cleaned up, but nothing has been set in stone.

The other project currently underway is a sidewalk project that will be along Fairlane Drive between the intersection of Kentucky 9 and Kentucky 59 and Shelton Drive.

According to Ginn, the project will consist of replacing a portion of the sidewalk in the area, while building a sidewalk in areas where there was not one previously. Contractors will install concrete sidewalks, concrete driveway aprons, concrete curbs and other items along Fairlane Drive, ending at Kentucky 9.

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The project is being completed by Straight Edge Construction and is funded by the Safe Routes to School project in the amount of $200,000.

The project has been in the works for several years.

In 2014, former Gov. Steve Beshear awarded the city of Vanceburg the $200,000 grant to complete the work on sidewalks in the city in order to make travel to school safer for children.

At the time, Council Member Chris McGlone was the mayor and said the city had applied for the grant because of a large amount of foot traffic in the area.

"Our sidewalks along the route to (Central Elementary School) carry a lot of foot traffic. So, we applied for this funding to extend our improvements to allow our students a safe walk," McGlone said in 2014.

At the time of the award, Beshear said less than 15 percent of children in Kentucky walk or ride their bicycles to schools. The decline caused negative impacts on traffic congestion and air quality, as well as student safety around the schools.

Ginn said he hopes to have both projects completed by January.

"I'm glad to see them getting underway," he said. "I look forward to completing these and start working on other projects in the city."

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