Roundabout project gaining support in Fairdale

FAIRDALE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A roundabout and other construction projects hit a wall of resistance from some neighbors and business owners in Fairdale.

But now some of those same neighbors and business owners are seeing things differently.

"I just had my doubts," said Barry Phelps, who is the owner and president of Fairdale and Phelps Hardware Stores. "As far as the roundabout, still don't know."

He will be the first to admit the $5 million roundabout project didn't turn his head in the beginning.

"It may work and it may not work," Phelps said.

But he said he has already seen improvements.

"I've got drainage now, didn't have that for 30 years 'cause it used to not drain out here at all, but now it is draining very well," Phelps said.

Kentucky Representative Jeff Donohue said crews opened half of the roundabout a month ago and there is already a big difference.

"A lot of folks don't like change, but change is long overdue in the Fairdale community," Donohue said. "Traffic is moving much better than it ever did."

Donohue also said the roundabout has opened a lot of eyes about the need for change.

"I've lived through the stop signs, the flashing lights, the caution signs and this is what's really going to work," he said.

There are also several new businesses coming to the area, including a Dollar General Store that's still under construction.

"They started about two months ago ... it was an old, dilapidated car wash, so luckily, that eyesore is gone," Metro Councilwoman Vicki Welch said. "And also I have been told that and ice cream candy shop is interested along this area here in the village."

Welch and Rep. Donohue have been working together for years to improve Fairdale. In addition to new businesses and new sidewalks, it has led to some complaints from neighbors and business owners, but the two longtime Fairdale lawmakers said that is slowly changing.

"Nobody likes change and nobody likes a bunch of dust and their businesses torn up and rearranged and moved around, but you know in the long run, it's going to pay off to them," Welch said. "Now that the mess in front of their business is gone, it's more of a normal flow of traffic now."

After several months of construction, even Barry Phelps is starting to see that.

"I do like the look of it ... I have to give it that, and I think it's going to work. I'm sort of optimistic now that it's here," Phelps said.

In fact, he has even built a new parking lot. 

"Every time I've got more parking here, I've got more business, so it worked out well. I went from 12 parking spots to 20," he said.

Crews have also installed new sidewalks.

"Sidewalks are a huge importance in this type of community," Welch said.

Welch said the sidewalks help Fairdale grow while maintaining that small town feel.

"A lot of the kids from high school walk down to go to the Dairy Queen after school," she said.

Welch said the Louisville Loop will also come from the Valley Station area and down Mitchell Hill Road through the forest.

"And this green space, which is part of the roundabout plan, will be a trail head for the Louisville Loop," Welch said.

Welch said she believes people across the city will eventually benefit from what's going on in Fairdale.

"I think we will get a lot of tourist dollars in here eventually. It is going to initiate people to the Fairdale area, and they will come back."

The roundabout is one of the main projects, and it is scheduled to be finished in September.

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