Downtown Harlan Building Demolished

Published 3:51 pm Monday, April 4, 2022

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Those who have resided in the city of Harlan for some time can recall a Clover Street building which formerly housed Harlan Ford Motor Company and later an auto parts retail outlet as being a center of activity.

However, the building had fallen into disrepair over the years and is currently being torn down.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley was asked about the status of the property during a recent proclamation signing ceremony.

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“The property was given to the county,” Mosley explained. “We’re demolishing the building.”

According to Mosley, the building was in very bad shape.

“It had a hole in the roof about the size of this room,” Mosley said. “We’re tearing the building down because it was unusable.”

The future of the property the building occupied is still under consideration, with the county’s economic development group looking into possibilities at this time, Mosley explained.

“We’ve had some interest from hotel developers,” Mosley said. “Most places, where there is a convention center, next to the convention center you’ll have a hotel.”

Mosley mentioned there has been a shortage of accommodations during the peak tourist season when activities at the Harlan County Off-Road Park is in full swing.

“There’s a shortage of rooms, especially on the weekends,” Mosley said. “It’s also right across the street from the Justice Center, so with people coming in for legal business…such as lawyers, it makes sense to have some additional lodging. So we’re doing a feasibility study to determine if there really is factual data to back up the need of a hotel.”

Mosley pointed out there are other possibilities for the property such as a farmers market pavilion.

“Right now, the Farmers Markets they do are generally out near the bypass,” Mosley said. “They had them out in the parking lot of the Harlan Center for a couple of years.”

Mosley pointed out there are multiple reasons for farmers markets.

“We’re trying to encourage people to grow more produce and do different things to use as an income stream,” Mosley said. “Of course, the high schools have FFA (Future Farmers of America) and they’re involved in agriculture growth. So we think a farmers market pavilion, whether it goes there or somewhere else, is something we want to work on moving forward.”

Mosley explained the only expense the county has faced in regard to the property is demolition costs. He indicated the county should have no issue recovering the cost of the demolition.

No decision has been made at this time concerning the future of the property.