The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
People, firms make way for the highway
A year has passed since crews started demolishing the buildings around the Falmouth intersection.
These days, the landscape at the intersection of U.S. 1, Butler Road and U.S. 17 looks somewhat like a moonscape.
The corner where the former bank and Stafford Republican Committee headquarters once stood is now a weedy lot. The space where the Koons Automotive dealership stood is a level lot with a couple of gravel piles on it.
The corners once home to Glover Enterprises and Blazes are also flattened wastelands, occasionally occupied by equipment, signs or work crews.
Three houses near the intersection also were demolished, the former occupants long gone, including the elderly couple who had the Richard and Kyle Petty signs on their home.
Where are they now?
The Republican headquarters had a temporary space in North Stafford for the elections, but has not found a permanent office.
The other businesses and residents at the intersection found new homes, though.
‘MAKING A GO OF IT’
Back in April 2012, Cornelius and Ann Day realized that they would have to leave the place where they had lived together for more than half a century.
“I cry every time I think about it,” Ann Day said at the time.
The kindly couple, who are in their 70s, now live in a ranch-style home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Ferry Farms subdivision.
“We don’t like it as good as where we was,” Cornelius Day said on a recent afternoon, “but we’re making a go of it.”
One year after the move, Ann Day said she actually misses the constant whoosh of traffic that flowed on Butler Road.
Still, the Days have settled in to their new life, and have become friends with several neighbors.
They also have a yard and a garage, two things they didn’t have in their former home.
But they miss their Falmouth home.
“We’ve gotta make the best of it,” Ann Day said.
BLAZES HOLDING ITS OWN
The hearth and patio store was operated on one of the Falmouth intersection corners by Lance Foshee for some 23 years.
It’s not hard to remember the store, where Foshee often posted conservative political messages on the storefront windows.
Thousands of drivers saw the slogans on a daily basis.
Foshee doesn’t have much of an audience nowadays.
He runs his store out of a warehouse that is tucked away in an industrial area off White Oak Road in southern Stafford. A small sign on State Route 218 is all drivers see of Blazes these days.
Foshee, who rented the space at the intersection, isn’t happy about the forced move, but said he’s making do.
“We’re holding our own,” he said on a recent afternoon in the showroom that for years had been his warehouse.
The 75-year-old said he still has customers who say they thought he had closed up the shop.
“I end up giving directions on the phone about a dozen times a day,” he said. “If I live long enough, everybody will find me.”
GLOVER HAS MORE SPACE
For decades, Chris and Debbie Blazek operated the wood, gas and pellet stove business out of a tiny building that stood on the other side of U.S. 17 from Blazes.
Glover is now in a much bigger space in the shopping center on Chatham Heights Road, where Earl’s True Value Hardware is a well-known anchor.
There might not be as much traffic as there is at the Falmouth intersection, but the store has a big showroom easily seen through the storefront windows.
Efforts to interview the Blazeks were unsuccessful, but an employee said they like the new place.
He also said they don’t miss the traffic at all.
KOONS TO MOVE AGAIN
“It’s definitely an adjustment,” Sabrina Antosh, Koons general manager, said recently of the move from the spacious dealership at the intersection.
The dealership moved less than a mile to the north into a tiny space along U.S. 1.
Plenty of traffic still passes Koons, but it’s a bit difficult to get in and out—not much difference from the space at the intersection.
“A lot of people thought we left,” Antosh said.
They aren’t racking up the sales they once did, said Antosh. But the dealership is about half the size, in terms of employees and inventory. They still have a service center; it’s just up U.S. 1 in the Falmouth Industrial Park.
Antosh said they’ve still done pretty well, and have opened two more dealerships, in Culpeper and Woodbridge.
She added that Koons plans to move to a bigger location in Fredericksburg.
“We want to get back into a full-size dealership,” Antosh said. “We need more space. It’s just so small.”
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
REBUILDING THE FALMOUTH INTERSECTION
WHAT: $24.8 million project to improve the intersection at U.S. 1, Butler Road and U.S. 17 and reduce the wait time.
WHEN: Crews have started moving utilities underground and should start road work in March. Work is expected to be finished in late 2015.
DETAILS: The project will add through-traffic and turning lanes to the intersection; landscaping and sidewalks also will be added around the intersection.