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Returning to Millersburg looks different a week later

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 18:19:03-04

MILLERSBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — It has been a week since part of historic downtown Millersburg in Bourbon County caught fire, prompting a massive response.

Community leaders say this setback will pave a comeback for the town.

"Things change," said Mark Rupard. "Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst."

Rupard started working in Millersburg out of high school. He worked there for 37 years. He has since moved to Montgomery County. He says he remembers the grocery store where he used to get snacks.

It is still hard to escape the smell of charred brick. It's a more somber facade from what Rupard and Edward Fitzpatrick remember.

"These buildings are beautiful, the way they're made," Rupard said. "They don't build stuff like that anymore."

"We came home and we rented an apartment above the old post office there," Fitzpatrick said.

"It has a long history," he added. "A lot of stores."

"I remember the store pretty well because I came down here during break," Rupard said.

Their fondest memories go beyond just what it looked like.

"Met my wife over here," Rupard said.

"I met my wife because she was a Millersburg native," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick and his wife didn't always stay. They moved around quite a bit, as he served in the military. Like small towns do, sometimes they bring you back home. Millersburg did for Fitzpatrick's wife.

"She stayed there until I came home in December of '69," he said.

Rupard and Fitzpatrick ponder the next steps for this stretch of Main Street.

"I often wonder what will happen with that particular spot," Fitzpatrick said. "Will it just be torn down, nothing built back?

"How will it ever look the same again?" Rupard said. "It'll never look the same again."

Mayor Lee Hopkins says it'll be a challenge moving forward, but not a setback. He says clean-up and recovery will take a while, but he's thankful for the help they've received. If you want to help, click here.