Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A fire left a gaping whole in the heart of historic downtown Shelbyville. The property owner has changed his mind and wants to rebuild -- there's just one thing standing in his way.
Some people in Shelbyville say they don't know what's worse -- the sight of a raging fire tearing through the heart of the historic downtown, which had Mayor Tom Hardesty saying, "Immediately my heart sank," or the burned-out hole it left behind where four buildings once stood.
There's nothing left there but a pile of bricks. The owner said he was going to wash his hands of the place and sell the land, but now he's come up with a new idea.
Jim Reynolds owns three of the four properties that were destroyed, and says it's, "Kind of going to be a little retail office slash, hopefully, a restaurant."
Reynolds is still waiting for insurance settlements, though he's already pitched preliminary sketches on new ideas to the historic district and the mayor.
Mayor Hardesty says, "We need small viable businesses in our downtown we don't need vacant parking lots like this."
And Fred Rogers of the Shelbyville Historical District says, "We'd like to see something in the neighborhood of $15,000 or so that we could reinvest or co-invest."
Just as things started to look up -- another fire of sorts to put out. Reynolds explains, "They own one of the lots between my two properties and we had talked about purchasing it from them and then maybe later down the road selling back to them after we got the building built."
The family behind Fiesta Mexicana owns the fourth property and wasn't interested in Jim's deal. City leaders say they're already turning a vacant Chinese restaurant into their new location elsewhere in town but wanted to hold their investment there.
Reynolds says the last two months have been like a roller-coaster: "You got your highs, your lows, your ups, your downs. After the fire I was ready to give up and then I got inspired -- and you know, just hit a few brick walls."
Reynolds says insurance investigators have not yet found the exact cause of the fire. Shelbyville fire officials do not think it's arson.
No one from Fiesta Mexicana could be reached for comment on our story.