More demolition scheduled for Main Street
by Cris Ritchie
Building site once owned by Hazard founder
Another building is set to go down on Main Street to make way for a new replacement bridge to connect Ky. Highway 451 to the downtown Hazard area.
According to a release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, contractors will begin demolishing buildings and removing underground storage tanks next week. The old Central Service Station building, which most recently housed a liquor store, was demolished two weeks ago, and the old Baker's Market building was torn down last year to clear the right of way for the pending construction of the bridge. Hazard Mayor Bill Gorman noted that all of the agreements have been signed to begin deconstructing the buildings on the Main Street side of the river.
The old Curtis Mathes building at the end of Main Street, which has housed several businesses since its construction in 1920, is also scheduled to be demolished as well. Demolition is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 5, and a road closure and delays in the area are expected. The building has housed a Curtis Mathes dealership and most recently Hazard Quick Copy, and once housed other business such as a funeral home and Collins Department Store.
But the site of the building itself is perhaps more historical than any in the city. According to Martha Quigley, director of the Bobby Davis Museum and Park, the site and its original structure, a tavern, was owned by Hazard founder Elijah Combs. Quigley noted that one of Combs' descendants, Pauline Combs, married Don Beams whose family continued to own the building until modern day, at which time is was sold to the state for the purposes of constructing the new bridge.
The highway department is advising that the work will result in the closure of Bridge Street for approximately one week, while drivers can also expect delays on Main Street and High Street in the immediate vicinity of the work zone.
The new bridge is expected to bring with it a new look for downtown Hazard, which will include additional parking as well.
Next week's work is currently listed as preliminary, as actual construction for the bridge will not begin until a later date. Gorman noted during Tuesday's Chamber of Commerce meeting that a final parcel of property still needs to be purchased in order to make room for the new bridge.
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