Plan for Dollar General to build on site of historic southern Indiana home faces opposition

A historic home on a 9.3-acre portion of land off Paoli Pike and Scottsville Road is up for sale. Floyd County officials say Dollar General is planning on buying that property to build a new store and donate about 8 acres for a park, but some neighbors are not on board with the plan.

A Floyd County Planning and Zoning meeting is scheduled for Monday night, where neighbors and other concerned groups will weigh in on the proposal.

"We plan to be there and voice our concerns," Laura Renwick, with the Southern Regional Office for Indiana Landmarks, said. 

Mary Gesenhues, who lives in the area, thinks the development in that particular location would be a disservice for those who live nearby.

A petition opposed to the Dollar General being built is making the rounds on Facebook and already had 400 signatures by Friday afternoon. Some residents say they want to keep it as green space or a community garden, or even a bed and breakfast instead.

"It is one of the oldest standing structures in Floyds Knobs." Renwick said.

The Floyd County planner said the house is one of 13 sites in the county that is eligible for the National Register. But, this house wasn't put on the register, which means it can be torn down.

The owner didn't want to go on camera, but told WDRB that the home was in her family for generations. She and her two brothers needed to sell it because it was too costly to keep up with the 150-year-old house in need of major repairs. She said they would've welcomed a bed and breakfast or other developments, but those buyers didn't come forward. Instead, Dollar General did.

"Because this is a planned unit development, one of the things that is supposed to take consideration is that historic structures should be worked around, if at all possible," Gesenhues said.

According to the county, Dollar General must flood-proof the building, since the land is on a flood plain.

The meeting scheduled for Monday is at 6 p.m. at the Pineview Government Center in New Albany, as the developer wants to change the property from residential zoning to commercial and parks and recreation. 

The planning commission has three options: favorable review, unfavorable review, or no recommendation. Then it would be up to the County Commissioners.

"I hope I'm speaking for the people of Floyds Knobs in saying that we're not opposed to development, but it has to be the proper business in the proper space," Gesenhues said.

While the sale is still pending, the owner says she's hearing from several people who can't wait for a Dollar General to locate there.

If everything is approved, county officials say construction could start as early as late spring.

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