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Middlesboro receives funding for downtown demolition project and new police vehicles

The City of Middlesboro

Bell County will soon see some improvements in downtown Middlesboro. The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded Discover Downtown Middlesboro more than $244,000 to demolish the former Middlesboro Elks Home.

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson said the funding has been needed for many years, but it will be bittersweet to see the building go.

“Sadly, it used to be a very historic building. It was a hospital and there’s many Middlesboro residents born in that hospital. So, there was some sentimental value to it, but it had got to the point it was beyond any remodeling or repair,” said Nelson.

Nelson said the demolition of the building is made complicated by asbestos and the proximity of other structures. Once the site is cleared, it will provide space for new businesses.

The city also won funding last week from the USDA for $50,000 that will help buy three new police vehicles.

Nelson said the vehicles will strengthen the police department’s fleet.

“Right now, I’m happy to say that we have 24 police vehicles. By January of next year, we will have 17 brand new ones. Then, what we have left over will be new enough to supplement the others,” said Nelson.

The Middlesboro mayor said the new cruisers will replace old Crown Vics that were becoming difficult to maintain as parts became harder to get.

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Samantha is WEKU's All Things Considered Host and also reports on news of interest in the commonwealth. Sam is a graduate of Morehead State University and worked for MSU's Public Radio Station WMKY.
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