Louisville Metro has hundreds of privately-owned roads that no one maintains

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A trashed couch has sat outside of a home on Daleray Drive in the Newburg community for months; garbage collectors aren’t required to pick it up because the road is privately owned.

No one knows who owns Daleray Drive, and over the past 30 years, neighbor Kelvin Wilson has watched the road deteriorate.

“We’ve got people who have taken their hard-earned taxpayer dollars over the years we worked, and it’s obvious we’ve got nothing out of it,” Wilson said. “Nothing has been reinvested in the neighborhood we live in, and I think it’s sad.”

Wilson told WAVE 3 News when it rains, the road and yards flood; when it snows, neighbors have to wait for it to melt because there are no snowplows, and the street is riddled with potholes and cracks.

Even though Daleray Drive is private, Wilson said people who don’t live there use it as a racetrack.

“They come here because on the parallel streets they have the speed bumps,” Wilson said. “We don’t have any, so we get a lot of dirt bikes, off-terrain vehicles, four-wheel vehicles, and they fly up and down the street.”

Neighbors asked the city to install speed bumps, but Metro Government’s hands are tied. By law, it isn’t required to -- or even allowed to -- maintain private roads.

There are 21 privately-owned streets like Daleray Drive in District 2 alone. Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin told WAVE 3 News it is up to the neighbors to hire an engineer and pay for road improvements to bring the street up to the city’s standards. Then Metro Government could take over the road’s maintenance.

Wilson said most of the people who live there are renters and won’t want to invest in the street.

“Nobody’s going to do this out of pocket,” he said. “We’re working people, we’re retired people. Nobody is going to do this just to leave a legacy to say, ‘I did this.’ Either I’m going to have to go out and get me a for-sale sign or pursue other avenues, but I don’t think there’s anything left. It comes back to the same excuse: it’s a private street. I don’t know how private it can be with accessibility to the public. How private is it?”

To find out if your road is privately owned and who owns it, click here.

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