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Woman faces losing her home of 55 years as plans for highway expansion go straight through her living room

Woman faces losing her home of 55 years as plans for highway expansion go straight through her living room

Janet Arnett’s family are now calling for help to stop her losing her home

A 76-year-old woman who has lived on the same property for 55 years is now at risk of losing her beloved home due to plans for a highway expansion.

Janet Arnett was only in her early 20s when she moved to the property in Magoffin County with her husband Lowell.

The family lived in a couple of mobile homes on the property over the years, and in 1998 they built what they thought would be their forever home.

Janet and Lowell welcomed children who have since moved out, but in recent years their grandchildren and great-grandchildren have spent time on the property, making their own memories.

Lowell sadly died in the home in 2015, but it remains a place of comfort for the family.

“It’s a small house, but to me it’s a mansion,” Janet said.

In an interview with WYMT, Janet's granddaughter, Zoe Parker, added: “When I was growing up, mamaw’s house was always this place of refuge.

"We cooked together. And this is where I grew up playing in the creek, catching crawdads, and catching lightning bugs.”

Janet Arnett has lived on the property for 55 years.
WYMT Television

With no plans to leave the home, Janet and her family were left stunned when plans for the Mountain Parkway Expansion development were shared at a community meeting.

Though developers had previously warned Janet that she may lose some of her land to the new road, more recent plans revealed that it runs straight through the area where Janet has spent decades of her life.

Developers have allegedly claimed there are development and structural issues which make it impossible to move the road in front of or behind Janet's home.

When Janet suggested she could move the house to a lower piece of the property, officials are said to have told her there is no room for a septic tank to be installed.

Janet is desperate to keep her home.
WYMT Television

“I mean, if [they] want to build the road, that’s fine. But just leave me alone. Build it in front of me; build it behind me," she said. "You know, I just want to stay at my house. Here. Why did it have to come through my house?”

In a bid to take a stand against the development, the family have contacted multiple officials.

However, they claim they do not yet feel they have been heard in any meaningful way.

Janet has insisted she's not interested in any money being offered, as the memories she has at the home cannot be bought.

“I’m 76. You know, I’m not gonna be around too much longer,” she said. “Why can’t I stay here in the house? My house.”

The family has now created an online campaign to try and find solutions to help Janet hold on to her home.

A spokesperson for the Mountain Parkway Expansion told UNILAD: "The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet understands the very sensitive nature of property acquisition and is committed to finding the best solution for all parties by participating in a fair and equitable process under the law.

"Minimizing property impacts during any construction project is always the goal. The 45-mile Mountain Parkway Expansion project is a nearly $1 billion transformational infrastructure investment in Eastern Kentucky that will provide economic benefits and improve mobility and accessibility for thousands of Eastern Kentuckians for generations to come.

"When studying alignments for the final parkway segment in Magoffin and Floyd counties, the state identified the cross-county route as the preferred option instead of the KY 114 route because it significantly reduced home relocations from roughly 100 homes to approximately 30 homes.

"KYTC follows strict federal regulations and guidelines during the property acquisition or relocation processes. A property owner's or dweller's personal attributes such as age, gender, family size, marital status, socioeconomic status or occupation do not factor into the acquisition or relocation process so as to ensure equitable transactions.

"KYTC first notified property owners who would be impacted by the cross-country alignment more than a year ago and has maintained communication but cannot comment directly about properties undergoing current Right-of-Way negotiations."

Featured Image Credit: WYMT

Topics: Community, US News