Farmer says he offered safer place for US 68 intersection
The contract has been awarded to reconstruct the “Y” intersection at U.S. 68 and Ky. 29, and it’s to be finished by next year, but some residents still complain that it will be more dangerous than the one there now.
Hal Snowden, owner of Roseglade, the thoroughbred horse farm located where the two roads converge, is one of them.
Snowden told The Journal he offered the state better land for the new intersection, but the plan was changed because Mayor Harold Rainwater’s brother didn’t want the intersection so close to his house on U.S. 68.
He was going to give the state seven acres about 300 feet to 400 feet north of the motel, convenience store and gas station that were all razed to build the new intersection.
“They would rather tear down those things than use the farmland where it would be a much safer alignment,” Snowden said.
Those businesses were thriving, he said, and it was safer for the buildings to be there because people knew they had to slow down when they approached them. Now the speed limit will be 55 mph and the new intersection will include a slip lane so that people going northeast won’t have to slow or stop.
It was in the spring of 1999, Snowden said, when he called the District 7 engineer for the state Department of Highways and was told the state had received a letter from the City of Wilmore asking it to consider other alternatives to the alignment that had been approved.
“I could have been the one property owner involved in the whole thing,” Snowden said. Instead, “two businesses were sacrificed.”
But Rainwater said Snowden’s claims are false.
“That’s not true,” Rainwater said. “It has nothing to do with that.”
The mayor said he never discussed the matter with his brother, James, who is still going to be across the road from the new intersection, just as he would have been if it were built on Snowden’s property.
Harold Rainwater said Snowden wanted to provide the location for the land so that a part of his horse farm could be zoned commercial and so he could build a “stockade fence” that no one wants to see.
Snowden said he has been in conflict with the city over a plan for a residential development of his farm, which Rainwater said the city approved in 1997, but the landowner’s plans keep changing.
“He keeps stirring the pot,” the mayor said.
James Rainwater could not be reached for comment before the Tuesday afternoon deadline for this issue of The Journal’s print edition.