New opportunities for riverfront

-A A +A

City purchases Liter property, begins clean up

By Kristin Beck

After years of discussion and months of negotiations, the city of Carrollton is the new owner of the 12-acre Liter’s Quarry property, which is bound by the Kentucky River, south of U.S. 42 at the Carrollton-Prestonville Bridge, west of Second Street and stops at Bakers Auto Salvage.


“It feels great,” Carrollton Mayor Dwight Louden said. “... Folks have been wanting us to get that property and clean it up for a long time.”

The city acquired the property by trading a city-owned farm on Boone Road and the old Ice House property on Fifth Street as well as $100,000 from the city’s general fund to John Liter, managing member of Boulder LLC, the parent company of Liter’s Quarry. The deed was signed, and the check was delivered Friday morning.

Louden said Liter approached him about the property when Louden came into office three years ago. Initially, Liter asked for $400,000 for the property, which Louden turned down. The city also did not have any property at the time to trade.

After speaking to Carrollton Utilities Manager Bill Osborne about a year ago, Louden learned that the Boone Farm property, which the city had a permit from the state to scatter sludge on from the old sewer plant, was no longer needed once the new plant was built. However, the city and Liter were not able to make a deal.

About three months ago, the city informed Liter that if the property were not cleaned up, they would begin fining the company $50 per day until it was clear. Rather than incur the fine, Liter and the city were finally able to negotiate a deal.

“Anytime you can acquire public land on the riverfront, I think it’s valuable,” Louden said. “You can clean it up, and the public can use it and enjoy it.”

Included on the property is a metal platform on the Kentucky River that was used by former owners Bristol Steel and Ironworks to load and unload barges. Louden said he hopes to possibly use the space for an observation deck.

Louden said at some point, the city may come up with a special use for the property. Among the suggestions received are an RV park, campgrounds and recreational use.

“At this point, the first thing we’re going to do is clean it up because it is overgrown, and it doesn’t look good and it’s the entranceway to the city,” Louden said. “…Everybody likes the way Point Park looks, and it’s really cleaned up and looks nice, so if we can make the other side look like that, certainly we’re making a statement.”

Carrollton Public Works has begun clearing the property, and Supervisor Ronnie Knight said he hopes it will be complete by mid-summer.

“This is part of the city’s continuing plan to improve the city’s appearance for the benefit of our citizens and visitors to our community,” Louden said. “…I think this is something the community will really find beneficial, and I’m glad that we’re able to do this.”

Boulder LLC purchased the property from Bristol Steel and Ironworks in January 1998. Liter’s Quarry wanted to use the space to load and unload gravel shipped in by barge. Seventy-five percent of the gravel would then be shipped by dump truck and 25 percent reshipped by barge. On April 20, 1998, the Carrollton Board of Adjustments granted Liter’s Quarry a conditional use permit.

However, Carrollton Main Street Program and the Port William Historical Society filed an appeal in Carroll County District Court, and city council issued a stop work order. Many residents were afraid of the additional traffic and street wear-and-tear on Highland Avenue and Second Street, as well as the bright lights, dust and noise the business would create.

A legal battle ensued between the city and the company. In 1999, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the business a permit. However, in 2000, no work had yet been done on the property.