A popular welcome center and rest area along the Wendell Ford Western Kentucky Parkway is closing for good, and more than a dozen people are losing their jobs as a result.
Vickie Morris, a shift manager at the Ohio County Travel Center at mile-marker 75 in Beaver Dam, confirmed to the Kentucky New Era on Saturday night that the facility is closing at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The welcome center, which houses a gas station, convenience store and Arby’s Restaurant, employs 13 people (not including Arby’s), according to Morris, who said they were informed of the abrupt closure on Friday and that “the state is taking over.”
“For me, it’s devastating,” she said. “We all try to make a living. And to say in two days, ‘Hey, you’re not going to have a job,’ what are we supposed to do? We can’t file for unemployment until our last day and it sometimes takes three weeks to a month to file. People have bills to pay. I never thought this would happen to us.”
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Morris, 47, who moved to Ohio County in 2000, stated that the contract on the space was up and Arby’s placed a bid to keep ownership of the building, but that it was denied by the state. The Kentucky Department of Transportation was unable to be reached Saturday night for a comment.
The Beaver Dam rest stop, located at 675 Western Kentucky Parkway — about a mile west of the Natcher Parkway Interchange — has serviced thousands of motorists over the years as a popular stop for gasoline, snacks and a restroom break along the 137-mile stretch of parkway.
Many travelers took to social media to express their displeasure over the news. There is no word yet on how the space will be utilized following Sunday’s closure.