Demo begins

Demolition is underway on the former Russell May Art Gallery on South Lake Drive in Prestonsburg, paving the way for the construction of a medical outpatient facility for Pikeville Medical Center.

Pikeville Medical Center stepped closer to the start of construction of its new facility in Prestonsburg this week.

Demolition started Wednesday on the former Russell May Art Gallery on South Lake Drive, paving the way for the construction of a new medical outpatient facility the hospital plans to open there.

PMC has spent more than $800,000 to buy property for this project in Prestonsburg.

The hospital purchased the former Music-Carter-Hughes car dealership from the City of Prestonsburg on May 2 for $440,000. 

On May 22, the hospital purchased the adjacent property, which includes the former Russell May building, from Rental Management Services, LLC, a company owned by Estill Lee Carter. The cost of that property was $375,000, Floyd County deed records show. 

PMC CEO and Vice President of the Board of Directors, Donovan Blackburn noted the “economic growth potential” this project offers Prestonsburg and surrounding areas when it was announced last month. 

Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton said he is looking forward to that progress. 

“We are excited to have them there,” Stapleton said. “It’s going to make some readily available medical assistance there on that end of town and, in that end of town in particular, it’s going to liven things up a little bit. It’s going to maybe push more businesses to join the area.”

Stapleton said he has been contacted by individuals asking about other business opportunities in that area of town.

“There is stuff that’s happening,” he said. “I’ve had people reach out to me and say, ‘Well, what about this, or what about this?’ So, it’s generated some excitement and that’s what we need, is some excitement and growth.”

The building being demolished this week was vacant. It previously housed the gallery of one of Floyd County’s most prominent artists. 

Russell May (1921-1990) worked out of his art studio there for decades, becoming what a Floyd County proclamation declared in 2018, “a prolific artist of notoriety who dedicated his life to painting scenes of Floyd County and areas close to home in his idyllic Impressionistic style.” 

He published 59 limited edition prints, some of which are still widely collected today.

Last year, his work was celebrated in the first-ever “Russell May: A Retrospective” exhibition, which included examples of the works of May and other artists, appraisals of May’s work and arts activities for children. 

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