Life...Fun and Kentucky Real Estate


Is Progress Killing Our Kentucky Green Space?

 Don't get me wrong...I love my hometown. I was born in Madison County and I have lived half a century to see some major changes here.

I am in the business of selling real estate. It would be rare to see a client buy farms just to see them stay as they are. Most always they are bought to subdivide for homes or build commercial buildings.

I admit to the love of shopping and have been excited to see some better stores and restaurants move into Richmond Centre. I am sad to see the changes to our unique historic landscape that is green-space.

My Dad had a vision back in the late 60's and bought some land (33 acres)with a few other businessmen on the White Hall exit. They wanted to build a hotel.

Back then, that exit off I-75 was just a few houses with farmland, White Hall School, Horseshoe Motel and a Texaco station. The old motel caught fire one night and was never rebuilt. The Texaco station moved down the street to be reborn in front of the school.

Dad managed the Texaco along with his Greyhound Bus Station downtown and was night auditor the Holiday Inn on exit 87. He did believe that White Hall exit might be developed, but sold his share in the corporation before it did. Now, if you look at that land it is completely covered with commercial buildings, motels, houses, gas stations and restaurants. It's amazing for me to see because all of those old farms were where I rode my horses everyday. They were beautiful green-space. I'm glad I can think back to a simpler time where I enjoyed our little creek, old barns and horses. I spent many quiet and peaceful moments there. 

A few days a go, I was driving out Barnes Mill Road and stopped to take this picture. I felt concern because the old barn was valiantly standing in the middle of progress.Tender fields of bluegrass were being gouged into, limestone rock underneath was being blasted and all the ancient trees had been removed. Now the heavy equipment moves mountains of rich soil here and there to create a concete landscape. The old barn seemed sad and was patiently awaiting it's fate.

Across the street the same scraping away of beautiful land has happened. It made me sad to see how change does not include the history and loveliness of what is old. Soon the old barn will be demolished and never to return. I love Kentucky and want us to be modern but the other part of me wishes to keep what makes us unique. The rolling hills of lush bluegrass, horses, barns and plank fence. I'm all for progress but we give up so much to enjoy the convenience of it.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by The Activerain Network and it's members and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Lizette Fitzpatrick and Prudential Don Foster Realtors. Lizette Fitzpatrick and Prudential Don Foster Realtors are not responsible for the accuracy or content provided by The Community.

Comment balloon 30 commentsLizette Fitzpatrick • August 19 2007 11:06AM


Lizette--I didn't grow up in the country but in a suburb. Many of the areas that we considered country back then have been swallowed up as part of the Twin Cities urban sprawl. It is hard to see an old country farm in the center of it all being torn down. In Maplewood, they actually raised money to move the barn and farmhouse away from a very commercial valuable area to another area as a historical site. They wanted to preserve the memories of the Bruentrup Historical Farm rather than have it destroyed forever. It is so hard to watch "progress" as it destroys memorable places.


Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) over 11 years ago
interesting information about the growth in Kentucky. Thanks!
Posted by Eric Olson (Sky Realty) over 11 years ago
I graduated from U.K. and it is so beautiful, been back a few times over the years and my how it has changed. But, I love driving and seeing all the horse farms.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago

Dang girl, you dominate the featured post column these days.  I'm proud to say that I'm friends with an Active Rain celebrity.  You certainly deserve the accolades.

In regards to development, I agree with you.  In many ways, we've gone too far and infringed on places better left unspoiled and untouched.   The damage is forever.  We can't give back to future generations the treasures that are already gone.

Posted by Ed Rybczynski, Your Source for Local Real Estate (Integrity Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Terri - I agree with you. Even though I like modern conveniences I long for it all to go back to how it was.

Eric - Thanks for the comment.

Ann- Central Kentucky is still very beautiful and I hope we can hang on to some of it.

Ed - You are too funny! You are the AR Rockstar celebrity!! I'm not worthy!


Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago
Love the picture, it reminds me of the times I spent at my grandparents
Posted by Linda Reynolds, Bradenton Real Estate (Bradenton Real Estate - Linda Reynolds) over 11 years ago

Howdy Lizette

I am a country boy from the state of Missouri. I love the country and it pines me when I see good country land being spoiled by development.

Heres a big 5 for a very fine post.

Have a good one

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 11 years ago

Beautiful post, Lizette ! It is very sad that the historic and valuable is not preserved when development takes precidence. Here in Southern Ontario all of the rich farmland along the great lakes is being turned into housing developments.  The government of Ontario did put a moratorium on the severing of agricultural land a few years back , however that doesn't seem to stop the developers who seem to have tricks up their sleeves to skirt these laws.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 11 years ago
You tell the story well, Lizette. I think at times when i read something like this it makes me appreciate all the laws in Hawaii that we have in place to preserve and conserve a lot of our land.
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago
Lizette, I loved this post.  I too have seen our Island over the years go from some lovely farmlands into overcrowding with too many stores, houses and people.  Very little of anything that was older remains and it makes me sad as well---and the building continues.  It's a great picture, I'm glad you have it.
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 11 years ago

I look at the place next door to us (and going all around the back of our property, too), as the cows graze and the herons fish in the creek and the wildlife goes around its business, knowing that it has been bought up by a developer and all too soon will be houses looming over our little ranch here.  Trying to decide what to do - move yet further out, or turn the whole danged place into a boarding stable for all those folks who move "to the country" but don't have enough room to actually live in the country.  I understand the conflicted feelings of a real estate agent watching the destruction. 


Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) over 11 years ago

Thanks Linda! Those were the days when life was simply fun.

Dale - Thanks for the drive by! Good to hear from you!

Jo-Anne - It's sad that it happens everywhere. Maybe our stories of how it was will fill the void of what has disappeared.

Sally - Lucky for you that you won't see it disappear as fast in Hawaii.

Carole - Good to hear from you. Time for you to tell us about the grand adventure!

Tricia - It's difficult for me. I love my business but seeing land owners selling off these beautiful areas is hurting my heart too.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago what price?  I think communities need to get smarter about planning.

Great post.... brought back many memories!

Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Lizette, what a wonderful post.  Living in Pasadena, CA - an urban community, I don't get to see the beautiful open space that you have in Kentucky.   Unfortunately, it seems like the development takes over.  Great information!
Posted by Irina Netchaev, Pasadena CA Real Estate (Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Jon - It's amazing how fast the surburban area can change in just 5 years. Madison Co. has just exploded with new construction and industry.

Joan - We have planning and zoning here but it doesn't protect the farms. It does in Fayette Co. though.

Irina - I love Pasadena! Fun place to live. Thanks for stopping by! 

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago
That is a lovely photo. Looks like a great place to live and work.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 11 years ago
Bob & Carolin - I have to agree with you. I've lived in other places but it is truly beautiful here.
Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago
One of the reasons that I moved to Kentucky was the breathtaking landscape.  I grew up in the desert Southwest, but have lived all over the world.  I know now, that I have to have greenery around me, and the rolling hills of Kentucky comprise some of the most beautiful land in this country.  Developers should learn to assimilate this beauty into their plans rather than destroying our farms, clearing the land, all in the name of progress and greed!
Posted by Travis Goodyear over 11 years ago
I truly understand the mixed emotion of this post.... having grown up in Central Oregon I have watched new resorts spring up where the land was once untouched, hill sides that spotted the area and brought depth to the region become high end subdivisions.... all in the name of growth.  I too am glad I have my memories - makes me wonder what kids of today will remember.... maybe it will be remember when the homes on that hill sold for $1 million and now they are more or maybe less.... congrats on the star
Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago

Travis - Good to hear from you! Hope you are doing well.

Thesa - As time marches on I realize that the children of today won't really know the land as it was when we grew up. Most kids never experience country life or living in nature.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago

Lizette -

I drove out to Lexington, KY twice within the past 10 years.  It was beautiful seeing the lush green pastures and fences that stretched for miles with the horses grazing in these fields.  I must say I am sorry to see these things slowly disappear.  Quite a bit of developing has happened here in the past 20 years and many of the fields are disappearing.  I used to be able to ride my horse to visit friends without going on the road.  Now it is very difficult to do that.  I miss the wide open spaces.

Posted by Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker, The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around (Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd.) over 11 years ago

My Daughter Sabrina is a sophmore at UK and wrote a final paper and gave a speech about this very farm that we drive by many times a day. We are saddened by such devastation of the land especially when we have vacant commercial centres in town and a mall that will surely feel the impact of Richmond centre. We agree with you Lizette. Growth is inevitable but smart growth with consideration to the land and its people is of vital importance to the future of the bluegrass.



Posted by Barb Saia over 11 years ago
Nice post Lizette, it does make you think of years gone by.  I do treasure hunting in my spare time and am amazed with what I find.  Usually it is from the 1860's to 1890's and coins but every once in awhile I'll find a button or a pin from that era and wonder who lost it.  Times change and we have to change with it but planning our green space is also part of our future.  Part of treasure hunting is the history of an area.  Kentucky certianly has a rich history. 
Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") over 11 years ago
It is called progress right?  I like what one realtor said about planning smarter neighborhoods and developments.
Posted by Ethan Dozeman, Real Estate in Grand Rapids (Realty Executives Platinum Group) over 11 years ago
I used to spend quite a bit of time between Lexington & Louisville.  I learned to appreciate "Horse Country".  Preservation is key! Shopping is nice but it will never bring back the true "Kentucky"
Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) over 11 years ago

Brigita - I guess it is happening everywhere. I will just have to hold on to my good memories of how it was.

Barb - Sabrina sounds like she is well aware of all the beauty around her. Her parents taught her all the right stuff. You must be very proud of her!

Gary - Treasure hunting has to be lots of fun!  Half the excitment is digging something up!

Ethan - Progress is part of every community. We can only hope at some level the right decisions are being made for our future.

Tracy - I suppose once the beauty of Kentucky is gone we won't be around to worry over it.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago
I can see how you're so torn about the land being developed and the history going along with it.  It's too bad your Dad didnt' hang on to his land at that exit longer...CHA-CHING!!  Growing up in the same place for most of your life gives you insight into what used to be and how far we've come.  It's exciting once you get past the loss of what used to be...
Posted by Susie Roscoe, Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL (Signature Realty Associates) over 11 years ago
Susie, I often wonder what Dad would have thought about it. He was very conservative even though he wanted to see progress in our town.
Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago

when I was in Lexington there was a furor over the Airport expanding

The cons were pointed out by the opposition as "Growth kills bluegrass forever"
they thought that the area should be preserved as a horsefarm and the airport would just have to do as is

this attitude really burned me... they were also contending a WalMart at the same time

The Pros of expanding the airport were

  • Adding 300 jobs for a freight company looking to move to Lexington
  • Adding private Jet parking for Keeneland - this one was exploited by the opposition
  • Expanding for more commuter flights to Lexington
  • and finally... to bail the family that owned the farm out of a long bankruptsy...

The family had the property on the market and being by the airport kept it from selling.  They had several generations suffering due to the bankruptsy but the opposition said they should wait for a buyer.  They wouldn't give them money to wait or buy it themselves... just tell the family that was suffering to keep on suffering...

It is nice to preserve what can be preserved... but if Lexington and the region want to keep up with what's going on in the world, they need to remember that there are lives at stake..

300 jobs plus saving a proud family

Posted by David A. Podgursky PA, THE PODGURSKY GROUP - Make the Right Move! (THE PODGURSKY GROUP @ Re/Max Direct) over 11 years ago
David, I remember when all that was going on. It's sad because both are right to a certain degree.
Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago

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