Proposed Lifeskills Inc. Move May Face Federal Hurdle

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The proposed move of Lifeskills Inc. may have hit another snag. The proposed relocation of the company's headquarters to a downtown block near Circus Square is supported by Bowling Green's Mayor and City government, but is opposed by the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and the Downtown Merchants Association.

Now, it appears the federal government may ultimately have a say in the matter. Lifeskills plan calls for the city to purchase and demolish several properties, including 538 State Street.

That building is more than 50 years old, and according to the Kentucky Heritage Council, may qualify to be listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The DRA's master plan does not call for the Lifeskills building or the demolition of 538 State Street. In an Email dated August 24, the Heritage Council's Environmental Review Coordinator says "It appears the city is distancing the property from the larger project." The Email goes on to say the city could spark a federal investigation if it demolishes the property before a ruling from the federal government on whether or not the property qualifies as historic.

Charles Kelly, the building's owner, tells WBKO "I'm not anxious to sell," but says he will wait until an appraisal comes back from the city to see whether or not he will accept the city's offer. Kelly says he has already received a letter from the city saying it will move forward with condemnation procedures if they can't reach a sales agreement.

Dale Bond, Lifeskills' CEO, said Thursday that his company hasn't been focusing on this issue because the property in question is one of the one's the city has promised to purchase. Lifeskills currently owns three pieces of property on the block in question, the 500 block between State and Chestnut Streets.