Agreement signed; old house on Hwy. 44 to be razed

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By Thomas Barr

 MOUNT WASHINGTON -- The old house located near Armstrong Lane has been the topic of conversation by members of the Mount Washington City Council for months.

And, for months, property owner Bob Hall has been working with state officials to not only conclude a land deal which would provide improvements on the Highway 44 intersection but to also demolish the old homestead.

It appears that as of Friday, that work can now be accomplished.

Hall said a deal he agreed to in April 2013 has been ratified. And Andrea Clifford, a spokesperson for the state highway department, confirmed that the agreement had been reached.

While the purchase of the 1.88 acres from Hall by the state will not include the old house, the agreement provides that the home will be torn down by the state at no expense of the property owner.

"I'm glad the process is over," said Hall from his Oregon home. "This is the same agreement I had with them in April."

Hall said he is disappointed that city officials knew about the negotiations and mayor Joetta Bass Calhoun had a copy of the agreement.

Yet, he said, the councilmembers continued to try to damage his reputation.

His family has played major roles in the development of Mount Washington. For example, his grandfather played a large role in the incorporation of the city of Mount Washington and his uncle, J.R. Jasper, was the first chief of the volunteer fire department. His father also served 16 years as chairman of the Bullitt County School Board.

The family has always tried to be part of positive things in the community and he felt the latest discussions damaged that reputation, said Hall.

He wouldn't want the home in his own backyard but he thought the city officials understood that negotiations were on-going and that the state would eventually demolish the home and garage.

The home, which dates back to over 180 years old, was in good shape until the last tenant left, said Hall.

The retired hospital administrator said that the grass was cut and he had hoped the police could have helped to keep people from trespassing.

With 16 acres, Hall will be selling 1.88 acres to the state. 

Hall hopes that Kentucky contractors will have an opportunity to work on the intersection improvement project.

And, in the future, he would like to see the rest of the property become some part of a city park. Hall also talked about forming an educational foundation from proceeds made if the rest of the remaining property is ever sold.

Hall said he never received any paperwork from the city about condemnation processes discussed at recent meetings. He thought Calhoun and the councilmembers understood that the agreement has been tweaked by attorneys on both sides since April. Now, he is just glad that everything is settled.

In looking at the plans for the Armstrong Lane intersection, Hall is still not sure it is designed in the safest manner. However, he would be happy to see the project started and completed.

"Money was never the issue," Hall said of the state negotiations. "I am very relieved that this appears to be over."

Armstrong Lane is just part of a series of intersection improvements planned for Highway 44. Other intersections include Bells Mill Road and Lloyd Lane. Money has been appropriated for each of the projects.