Middletown City Hall

Mayor awaits grant money for move,
landscape, upgrades to Main Street

By Helen McKinney
Contributing Writer

MIDDLETOWN, Ky. (March 2004) – Main Street Middletown may soon receive a facelift. Mayor Byron Chapman wants to give it a “more friendly” appeal.
The city has applied for and received letters of approval for two grants to aid in upgrading a business-residential-historical section of the downtown area. Approval for a Transportation Enhancement Authority (TEA-21) $300,000 grant was announced in August 2003 by former Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton. The grant would fund street improvements along old U.S. 60 (Main Street).

Wetherby House

Middletown City Hall plans to move into
the Wetherby House (above).

This Main Street Streetscape project would add green spaces, additional parking, brick sidewalks, landscaped medians, iron benches and address drainage problems. The area has already been surveyed, said Chapman, and bids placed for an architect.
Improvements should make the downtown area more of a focal point for business and the community. In 1933, U.S. 60 was altered, moving the highway to the north of Middletown. Most businesses then sprung up along this new route, which is the reason today’s Main Street and Old Shelbyville Road remain as well kept as it was in the early 1900s.
With many of the surrounding buildings more than 200 years old, Chapman said the area definitely needed renovating. The application process was lengthy, but the result would be an area more compliant to Middletown’s quaint atmosphere of antique, jewelry, pottery and collectible shops and cafes.
The grant is an 80/20 percent match, with the city of Middletown required to match 20 percent of a total derived from taxpayers. City Clerk Betty Daigrepont is hoping to receive money by April.
A second $250,000 transportation grant was awarded to the city for renovation efforts on the Wetherby House, located at 11803 Old Shelbyville Rd. When this project is completed, Chapman said this house would become the new City Hall.
A three-acre park surrounds it. Chapman expects to be moved into the new location by late summer or early fall 2004. Three City Hall offices currently share space with the Middletown Museum and the Middletown Chamber of Commerce.
The building has been painted and new shutters installed. Since buying the house several years ago, the city has also put down sidewalks, laid a walking path around the house and added historical light posts, said Daigrepont. She said the city purchased the house because it was on the National Register of Historic Places and didn’t want to see the house destroyed. Middletown has nine buildings listed on the Register.
A third beautification project Middletown has embarked upon is one-and-a-half acres for a community park. This land was purchased for $90,000 from Don Lorenz. Situated near Crosscreek Subdivision, “Kids already used the area as a park,” said Chapman.
This land had contained a pumping station at one time, said Daigrepont. After the station closed, the land reverted back to its former owner. It became available after this, and Daigrepont said it was “a nice piece of land.” A creek runs through the property, and the city has had environmental studies conducted before enhancing the lot. Although nothing has been done yet, including the naming of the park, benches and a walking path are expected to be installed.

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