Paving the Way
New roads expected to fuel
development at Oldham Reserve
A March zoom conference shed light on future plans
LA GRANGE, Ky. (April 2021) – Oldham Reserve has been the dream of many people in Oldham County, Ky., for a long time. This planned commercial and residential community is expanding with the addition of a health care facility, new roads, hiking trails and possibly a one-acre park.
In 2005, the dream began to take firm root when a board of directors was created and the first anchor tenant, The Rawlings Group, was secured. As the largest occupant so far, the business is comprised of a complex that fills 154,000 square feet of space.
Oldham Reserve is a 1,000-acre property jointly owned by Oldham County and the City of La Grange (Oldham-La Grange Development Authority, OLDA). Located off of La Grange Parkway, south of downtown La Grange, the master plan for the park-like campus calls for a mix of office, retail, and residential uses.
“There have been a lot of seasoned professionals working around the clock on this project,” said David Bizianes, president of Oldham Chamber & Economic Development. The goal has always been to create an atmosphere for business development for Oldham County, to give residents more options closer to home. “A lot of people commute out of the county to work,” said Bizianes.
To update the public on what’s currently going on with Oldham Reserve, Bizianes recently held a Zoom/Facebook Live information session with Becca Trueman, coordinator for Currys Fork Watershed, and Kiersten Fuchs of Resource Environmental Solutions LLC, the two entities involved in the project. The session provided information about the ownership, management and plans for this public site.
The Rawlings Group moved into Oldham Reserve in 2006 and has grown into a 1,650 employee company, making it the top employer in the county and a significant employer in the state, Bizianes said. As employee numbers have increased, so has traffic, he said, and now the focus is on installing additional roads. New roads are needed as the 61,000-square-feet Trilogy Health Care facility will move in soon on Peak Road, creating even more traffic in the area.
Trilogy Health Care purchased 6.77 acres in Oldham Reserve to build an assisted living facility with the option to purchase an extra three acres. This will create 125 new jobs and new roads will provide more access to the additional businesses, offices and restaurants the chamber hopes to lure to the site.
Bizianes said the $80 million in new road projects at Oldham Reserve are expected to connect more jobs to the business park as it makes way for new growth, thus strengthening Oldham County’s economy. The master plan for the complex called for three main roadways: Eden Parkway (running north-south), Peak Road (running east-west through the complex’s center), and Ring Road. By 2023, a new interchange is expected to be completed that will provide more access to the park, as well as open up more acreage for development.
“There are a lot of assets around the area,” he said, referring to the short drive into the La Grange Main Street business section of town. Additional road projects in the area include widening Allen Lane, connecting Commerce Parkway to Mattingly Road and a project to connect Commerce Parkway to Hwy. 393.
Another feature officials must take to consideration when developing the site are the 29 square miles of the Currys Fork Watershed that are contained in the Oldham Reserve complex. “There are a lot of streams on the property,” said Trueman, but not necessarily a lot of places to access these streams within the watershed. Currys Fork trains into Floyd’s Fork, which eventually drains into the Ohio River.
She called it a “unique project,” one that was begun in 2005. The Currys Fork Watershed is managed by Oldham County Fiscal Court and is a collaboration between government agencies, organizations, businesses and residents of the county.
Trueman said the Watershed is working on improving stream buffers and creating trails. She said her job entails being the designated point person advocating for actions that improve the streams in the Currys Fork Watershed. “Like many areas, the streams in this watershed have been degraded by a pollution, land use change, and removal of essential habitat.”
The source of the pollution comes from many locations, and doesn’t become a problem until added together. This nonpoint source pollution contains “contaminants such as fertilizers, road salts, oils and animal waste that are picked up by runoff as it makes its way to the stream. We know that bacteria from failing septic systems are a big problem in this area.”
Bizianes agreed that “sewer upgrades need to happen.” He also pointed out that a pumping station is needed on Peak Road. This road, one that is under construction, will cut across the complex and connect Hwy. 53 and La Grange Parkway.
Much of Trueman’s job involves connecting with stakeholders (organizations, agencies, public, etc.) and finding ways to collaborate. In her part-time position, she helps design and manage several projects. She supports other groups, like Oldham Reserve, whose interests coincide with water quality improvements.
The Watershed has applied for funding to design public trails within Oldham Reserve. “We applied for a federal grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,” she said. Known as the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program, it is meant to develop community stewardship of local natural resources. She will know in August if the Watershed will receive the grant.
Trueman said it is a $50,000 grant that actually involves several local partners working in the Currys Fork Watershed: Oldham-La Grange Development Authority for trail design, the La Grange Springs Park Committee to help fund two rain gardens, educational signage and tree planting at the new Springs Park, and Leaders Don’t Litter along with Oldham County Cooperative Extension’s 4H Program to start an Oldham County Environmental Youth Group.
“We’re also applying for a small grant to create a site at the Oldham Reserve that will be designated for harvesting live stakes; a sustainable method to grow trees that are specifically planted along stream banks.”
OLDA has been very supportive of our efforts, which also align with the master plan for the Oldham Reserve.”
Fuchs said her job has been to work on the balance between development and ecology within Oldham Reserve. The goal has been to “identify ecological features on the site in the areas of development, and work with the regulatory agencies to get the permits needed for development.” Natural areas have been set aside so that no development will take place in them.
Her agency has looked for and identified endangered species habitats as well, such as where the Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat live within the complex. They also want to expand public recreational opportunities.
“This has been a great project to work on,” said Fuchs.
Bizianes said it is obvious that there are certain spots within the complex that are perfect for public areas. Under consideration is a one-acre park.
He said that architect Fran Scott came up with some concepts of how to use these spots in the master plan: dog park, walking trials and mountain biking trails. “The original master plan is still holding up, but markets change and retail changes; it affects the commercial future.”
Bizianes said, “Oldham County is going to continue to develop. We want to bring in good quality projects.”
Back to April 2021 Articles.