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Preserve downtown charm

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By Molly Haines

When I was younger, it was always a treat for me to get to come to Owenton.

It may not be the biggest city, it may not have big fancy restaurants, a Wal-Mart or a plethora of clothing stores, but there was always something about Owenton that appealed to me.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed something about Owenton that is drastically different from other cities I’ve visited. The courthouse sits at the center of downtown, and the downtown area thrives right around the courthouse.

I can’t think of any other cities that have a downtown area that you can go to and get your license renewed, your paycheck cashed, your hair cut, your lunch, check out books from the library, renew your subscription to the newspaper and buy your groceries all within a few short steps.

Now that plans are under way for a new judicial center, I fear that business will be taken away from the downtown area.

While I’m not knocking the idea of a new judicial center and I understand that the current courthouse is a bit outdated and small, it saddens me to think of what could happen to the downtown area.

I know many people who work at the courthouse who utilize the area around it to its fullest. They eat lunch at the restaurants and make appointments to get their hair done after their work day is finished and they don’t even have to get in their car to do those things.

Although the site for the new judicial center is only half a mile from the current courthouse, I wonder if those working at the new judicial center will travel that half a mile to do business downtown? Those on their lunch break may be in too big of a hurry to travel that short distance. Without the businesses within walking distance when their work day is done, it would be easy to bypass them and not think of things they need on their way home from work.

I’m for the growth and progress of any small town, but it is my sincerest hope that Owenton’s quaint little downtown area is not affected in a negative way by the new judicial center and that it will continue to thrive in the way it has for so many years.

•••••

As most of you already know, the News-Herald recently said goodbye to its staff-writer, Jessica Singleton.

Jessica hired me as a typesetter a little over nine months ago. In those nine months I’ve gone from being solely a typesetter to covering fiscal court meetings and writing stories. Needless to say, its been an interesting nine months.

I’m so grateful to Jessica for giving me the opportunity to work here and it is my sincerest hope that she flourishes in whatever career path she chooses to take from here.

During my nine months here at the News-Herald, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with so many of you. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you better while I continue covering the news in Owen County.