Retaining wall near McDonald’s comes ‘crumbling down’

Published 6:00 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

Those driving into Winchester from Lexington Avenue might have noticed one lane of traffic closed off during the past few days at the intersection of Bypass Road.

The reason is designed to benefit Winchester.

A concrete retaining wall, long set up near the McDonald’s at the location, is being torn down to open up an area for more land and opportunity.

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“It’s already drawing attention. It has opened up the area,” said Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed. “It just feels cleaner and neater already, and I think it will be a great improvement for Winchester.”

The area just behind the retaining wall is mainly vacant, with grass, small rocks and more covering the land.

However, as Reed notes, that was not always the case.

“Many years ago, that was actually called the Red Carpet Inn and had a retaining wall at that time for dirt, rain, and mud to come down,” Reed said. “It seems like [in] May of 1995, there were thunderstorm winds [that] came through and took the roof off the hotel. It was actually demolished sometime between 2007 and 2009.”

While the building no longer remained, the retaining wall stayed – despite not having a significant structural purpose.

Feeling that it would open up space for business and more, Reed made it a campaign promise to have the wall taken down.

“This is something that I wanted to see; basically a campaign that we would get the wall down so we could say, ‘and the wall came crumbling down,’” Reed said. “I’ve said before [that] I don’t make promises when I run, but this is one thing that I aggressively sought.”

The project was soon underway, with Winchester City Manager Mike Flynn working alongside the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to acquire a permit.

Innovative Demolition Services, LLC, a demolition contractor, ultimately is performing the task of helping tear down the structure.

After taking the retaining wall to ground level over a few days, all materials will be removed.

Both a Cat® 336 demolition excavator – designed to cut through concrete- and machinery with a demolition hammer have been used.

Not only has more room for businesses – including a potential steakhouse – been made available, but looking out toward the direction of the industrial park along Rolling Hills Lane allows for a more visually attractive sight.

“You don’t have the wall in your face. You’re actually looking out into the highway,” Reed said. “You’re seeing people. You’re seeing cars. You’re seeing restaurant signs. It’s really increased the visibility for people coming in.”

As the project advances and discussions continue with George Stamper, the owner of the land behind the wall, hopes are high for its outgrowth.

“We’re all excited that we’re going to have a nice, neat, clean area there on Lexington Avenue,” Reed said.