Some realities about Paris Pike's iconic stone fences

June 23, 2014 

  • At issue: June 9 Herald-Leader article, "After huge preservation effort, fences crumbling; Maintaining iconic rock walls requires constant upkeep"

As one of several people interviewed for the June 9 article about the Paris Pike fences, I am writing to address several misperceptions the public may now have.

First, the fences in disrepair in the median were not the fences that were built as part of the roadway project. They are the original historic fences that previously bordered properties along the roadway.

Second, when the road was converted from a two-lane highway to a divided parkway it was inevitable that property owners on one side or the other would lose their signature rock fences.

So, an agreement was reached whereby new road-frontage fences were built for those properties that lost their original fences to the median.

Third, although admittedly expensive, less than $4 million of the total $93 million was spent to build these new fences.

Fourth, the new fences are performing beautifully, with no failures or repairs having been required other than to correct damage caused by vehicular impacts.

And, finally, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is not responsible for maintaining and repairing the historic fences.

Rightly or wrongly, back when the roadway was being designed, a determination was made during the historic review process that the historic fences in the median would remain as "ruins;" no funds were set aside nor obligations made for their continued upkeep. Perhaps it's time we revisit that decision.

The agreement to build the new fences was a significant factor that allowed plans for the long-overdue roadway improvements to move forward. I, for one, am proud of the efforts to which the cabinet and our elected officials went (and are still going) to retain the iconic rock fences that make Central Kentucky not just Anyplace, USA.

I would like to have read something about the positive impact the parkway has had on Bourbon and Fayette counties, of how this beautiful historic landscape and fences have been preserved for our and our children's enjoyment, of the difference the parkway has made to the commuters who use it every day and of the lives that have been saved because of it.

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