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State Asks For City’s Help Demolishing James Harrod Conference Center

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
The state is seeking help from the City of Harrodsburg to demolish the James Harrod Conference Center, which was closed permanently in 2018 because of mold.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is asking for the City of Harrodsburg’s help in getting rid of a building that has become an eyesore.

At the Monday, July 10, meeting of the Harrodsburg City Commission, Kentucky Department of Parks Commissioner Russ Meyer and Old Fort Harrod State Park Manager David Coleman said the state is trying to get the James Harrod Conference Center taken down. The state shut down the conference center in 2018 due to mold and the building is falling apart.

“It is completely offline and slated for demolition,” Coleman told the board Monday. He said the state had been waiting for funding. Coleman said the city had previously offered to take it down and was wondering if they were still interested.

“Who made that offer?” asked Commissioner Charlie Mattingly.

Coleman said former city commissioner Jack Coleman had made the offer.

“Why can’t the state take it down?” Mattingly asked.

Coleman said the state like to have the building down before Harrodsburg celebrates its sestercentennial—its 250th birthday—next year in 2024. “The state can’t do it that fast,” Coleman said.

The park manager said the conference center was made of concrete block and did not contain asbestos. “The building is completely eat up with every critter known to man,” Coleman told the city commission. “It was not built correctly.”

Meyer said the state appreciates the partnership it has with the community, noting the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission had paid $100,000 to install new timber at the fort.

Meyer said there was more bureaucracy and expense at the state level, which would make demolition much more expensive. He said the city could get the job done quicker and cheaper.

“It’s a much more efficient opportunity for our partnership,” Meyer said. He said the state would like to talk to the city, the Mercer County Fiscal Court and the tourist commission county and “figure out the best solution for our taxpayers.”

Newly appointed Mayor Sam Carr said the city attorney would have to check to make sure they could legally do it.

“I’m not sure the city could fund it if the state owns it,” said City Attorney Norrie Currens.

Carr also asked who would manager the contract. Meyer said he’d have to check.

“I think it would have to be managed through you all,” he said.

Mattingly said he was worried about the expense.
“We just want an invitation,” Meyer said. “That’s all we’re trying to do, get it done as efficiently as possible.”

The city commission took no action. Coleman will serve as point of contact.

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