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For most of 2018, the site where a Menards store in Richmond was slated to be built has been quiet.

The barren dirt scape along the Eastern Bypass near the intersection with Big Hill Avenue has been the topic of much discussion. Many wonder if the store is still going to be built.

Joe Rowe of Richmond wants to know what's happening with the store and if/when construction might start again.

That's the question he submitted to The Register's Ask It Madison County, which invites readers to join the reporting process. The idea is simple: you have questions and our journalists are trained to track down answers.

When asked by The Register, a Menards spokesperson said the company still plans to build in Richmond.

"We plan to build a new store in Richmond, KY at some point in the near future but have not yet finalized when we might start construction," said Jeff Abbott in an email to The Register.

However, Richmond City Manager Rob Minerich told The Register Menards intends to resume excavation of its property in the spring.

"Their goal is to open for business in the fall," he added.

The project has been ongoing for more than two and half years.

The Richmond Planning Commission originally granted three waivers of city development requirements at a May 2016 meeting.

One reduced required parking to 429 parking spaces, far fewer than normal for a retail structure as large as Menards wants to build. The copy had requested as few as 410.

Another waiver allows parking lot light poles 30 feet tall, 8 feet taller than city code normally allows, but still 2 feet shorter than the allowance granted to neighboring Walgreens.

The third waiver allows Menards to use a 14-foot tall storage shed as part of a required property screening fence that is normally permitted to be no more than 8 feet tall.

In October 2016, the Planning Commission approved the site plan for Menards to construct a home improvement store of nearly 49,000 square-feet on a 25-acre tract next to Walgreens at the Eastern Bypass/Big Hill Avenue intersection.

Work began to progress throughout 2017, but seemingly halted after a fatal accident during ditch work in December 2017. Loren Richmond, 38, of Madison County, died when part of a soil bank surrounding the hole in which he worked broke away and pushed him against an existing pipe in the ground, covering him, first responders said at the time of the accident.

Jonathan Greene is the editor of The Register; follow him on Twitter @jgreeneRR.

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