Published Aug. 30, 2006, in The Ledger Independent
Maysville City Commissioners approved the purchase of the “heart of the neighborhood” in downtown Maysville Wednesday afternoon during a special meeting.
Purchasing the Cox building, located on the corner of Market and Third streets, for $200,000 from Wayne and Diana Johnson, the city plans to completely restore the building, which is more than 100 years old. The commissioners also approved the application for a Community Development Block Grant during the meeting for funds to be used in the restoration of the building.
“We consider it to be the cornerstone of downtown development,” said Maysville Mayor David Cartmell, who once owned the building.
“I could not be more thrilled,” said Luanne Mattingly, whose family ran the Kilgus Drugstore in the Cox Building for three generations.
“The Cox Building is the cornerstone building for downtown and probably the most photographed building in our community,” she said, “When the drugstore was located there, people gravitated to that building n and they still do, not because of what is operating inside, but because of the beauty of the building itself.”
Mattingly said she hopes the city keeps control of the building because city government will maintain it and not allow it to once again fall into disrepair.”
Commissioners agree that the building is an important building block for downtown. Victor McKay said he was excited about the purchase, while he was at the same time hesitant to jump in and make a decision for the future of the structure.
“I think we should proceed with caution,” McKay said. “I have toured the building and found that it is structurally sound. I think this is one of those projects where we need to go ahead and do something, before the building falls into disrepair.”
McKay said that he did not want to see the building face the same fate as Hayswood Hospital and action now could prevent a much worse problem later. He would like to see city offices moved to the Cox Building, he said.
“The city offices, tourism and the chamber offices could be there right in downtown, the place we are trying to promote,” McKay said. “I just hope the public is patient with us while we decide what to do. We are kicking around some ideas.”
The intersection at Market and Third has seen other revitalization in recent months, including the renovation of Courika Solutions building.
Built in 1886, the building has five floors and is nearly 50,000 square feet, Cartmell said. It was built by members of the Masonic Lodge, and Cartmell said there are still some of the secret passageways and original Masonic initiation features inside the building. On the outside, there are Masonic symbols, such as the cross and an eye, the “all-seeing eye,” which, according to the Web site masonicinfo.com, reminds a Mason that his words and deeds are being judged by the Supreme Architect of the Universe.
“We want a vibrant downtown,” Cartmell said. “(The Cox building) has always been the heart of the neighborhood and we hope to bring that back.”