The Daily Independent of Ashland, Kentucky, published this editorial on May 19 regarding community improvements in the region:

We see a lot of positives taking place in Catlettsburg. We believe they are good for the long-term future of the city.

The first - and the least controversial - is the paving on Highway 23 and Ky 168. The Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 said the US 23 paving is part of a nearly $3 million Transportation Cabinet improvement project and the KY 168 work is part of a $400,000 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet highway improvement project. US 23 paving encompasses six miles of US 23 and will be done in sections between I-64 at Catlettsburg and the Greenup-Winchester Avenue split at Ashland.

A recent drive to Catlettsburg already shows huge improvements on Highway 23. It is now a smooth ride on fresh new pavement. This is a critically important, positive development for Catlettsburg, Boyd County and surrounding neighborhoods. The way the road was before was unacceptable. The highway was a pothole-laden mess. Imagine you are considering starting a small business or you are an industrial type looking to relocate to eastern Kentucky. What would your impression be if, at first glance, a main thoroughfare was in such sorry shape?

The state gets a big pat on the back today for carrying out these improvements. They are a welcome, vital upgrade. Nice work.

The second issue we tackle this morning is the tear down of the downtown building at 2600 Louisa Street. Locals know the building as the Giovanni's Building. City officials said it was crumbling and posing a threat to the health and safety of residents and the people who traveled through the city. The property in question was purchased by a local developer and businessman, J.C. Williams. Williams, a native of Catlettsburg, said he had professionals look at the building and that there was no saving it.

"They told me that nobody had enough money to save it, because it was unsavable," he told reporter Charles Romans. "The footer itself was deteriorating. The engineer kicked the foundation with his foot, and stones fell out."

The only practical course of action was to demolish two of the three buildings he had purchased in the same block.

"It broke my heart, but it was the best thing to do," Williams said. "I still want to renovate it; I wanted to fix it for my daughter to live there, but there just wasn't any way to do it."

A third adjacent building was saved. Williams is looking at spending in excess of $200,000 to get the properties cleaned up and on the right track.

We are aware that these buildings are a very important part of Catlettsburg history. We are also aware that there was work being put into analyzing whether someone could come up with some grants to try and restore these buildings. Some in Catlettsburg really would rather see the buildings restored.

We respect that opinion greatly. Our community histories are important.

Our view driving by these eyesore buildings is they definitely needed to come down. Catlettsburg, with improvements in its downtown, can soon be positioned to benefit from what we expect to be an economic revival in the area. We think Williams and the city got it right on this one even though moving forward without these historic structures in place is painful for longtime Catlettsburg residents. We respect those who disagree and honor their thoughts on this difficult issue.


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