Newspaper Archive of
Bath County News - Outlook
Owingsville, Kentucky
August 19, 2021     Bath County News - Outlook
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August 19, 2021

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8 - August 19, 2021 News Outlook OPINIONS The opinion page does not reflect the views of the KyNewsGroup. By Cecil Lawson The past few weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about economic growth. This has coincided with the release of the 2020 US Census data, which has shown popu- lation growth both statewide and in this region. I hope to complete an article on this topic for next Thursday’s edi- ' tion. Bath County, it turns out, had the 11th largest popula- tion increase in the state, at around 10 percent, which is almost twice as much as our surrounding counties. A few years ago, in another Census-related study, Bath County had the 5th—fastest growing population in the state. It does seem that this is the place to be. At the same time I find my- self asking why. In my fifty years I’ve wit- nessed both the flourishing of small town Kentucky and its decline. I can remember a bustling downtown Owingsville and Salt Lick in my youth, but I can also remember, mostly recently, not so good times. Being located between Mt. Sterling and Morehead, we got squeezed from both sides by big box stores be- ginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and people aban- doned local businesses to drive another 15 minutes for more variety. By the 10 recession, the gutting of rural small towns across this region was complete. You SMALL TOWN BLUES need only drive from north to south, from Mt Olivet in tiny Robertson County, through Carlisle in Nicholas County, through Sharpsburg and Ow- ingsville in Bath County, and on to Frenchburg in Menifee County, to see the results of this squeeze. And yet it wasn’t the down- town areas of Mt Sterling and Morehead Which were enjoying the prosperity. They too were being squeezed in their own fashion, due to the onslaught of construction out- side of the town limits, thanks to bypasses and connector roads that put drivers near I-64 and away from the limited parking of downtown. If you think about it, the massive growth of subdivi- sions in Montgomery and Rowan counties was made possible because large swaths of agricultural landfell into ' disuse after the Master To- bacco Settlement in the mid- 19905 and became prime real estate. And the same has been true for Bath County, fueling its own recent popula- tion growth. And one of the biggest ex- amples of this same trend was the development of Hamburg Place shopping center out- side of Lexington in Fayette County. The iconic horse farm — the signature industry of the Bluegrass —- thanks to its close proximity to I-64 and I-75, is now the primary desti- nation of many shoppers from across the state. Patrick Madden, whose family owned Hamburg Farm, is now a developer and has recently purchased prop- erty in Rowan County — right by 1-64 — in order to develop a $31 million shopping center (and displaced around mo- bile homes and families in the process). Just a few miles west of there on 1—64, AppHarvest opened its headquarters last year on Hwy. 801, and has quickly become one of the largest employers in the re- gion. All of this change for our re- gion has resulted from a per- fect storm of larger changes in the economy (the rise of the big box store concept) which drained small town economies, the decline of small-scale agriculture, and demographic changes across the country, in which people are moving to warmer (Flor- ida, Texas) and more rural areas (like this). Over the past decade I’ve heard of so many people who happen to be passing through the area remark how beauti— ful it is, but what they don’t realize, as passers-by, is how much the area has changed prior to their arrival. Much of the charm of the country and the small town that we prided ourselves on in my youth is now gone. We now must go to Mt. Sterling or Morehead, or even Lex- ington, to do basic shopping, and what were once rolling, quiet hills and countryside are now slowly filling up With new homes, new people, and more traffic. Our downtowns have been deconstructed, and we now go shopping “on the bypass” or just outside of town, and people live in subdivisions that are slowly popping up everywhere. We now likely don’t know many of our neighbors. Our sense of com— munity has waned. Some people are totally fine with this. If you never had it, you don’t miss it. I point all this out, not to look down my nose at the need for more local business or to welcome new people to the area, but to draw your at- tention to what has been lost along the way. $$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ RETIREMENT ARE YOU RETIRING OR HAVE YOU RETIRED? IS YOUR MONEY WORKING FOR YOU OR OTHER PEOPLE? DO YOU NEED AN INCOME WITHOUT TOUCHING THE PRINCIPLE? WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN COMPOUNDING INTEREST? BE THE BOSS OF YOUR RETIREMENT, PUT YOUR MONEY TO WORK FOR YOU! FOR A PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT: CALLJIM AT 606-683-2104 CELL: 859-948-4376 EMAIL: gatesiimmie@zahoo.ggm WHO YOU GONNA CALL??? INTEREST BUSTERII! WHO YOU GONNA CALL??? INTEREST BUSTER!!! WHO YOU GONNA CALL??? 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