When Lee Sullivan bought her home on the southeast side of Greenwood, cornfields surrounded intersections and there was little development.
But that was 16 years ago.
Now, a middle school is several hundred yards away from her home in Copperfield, a gas station is under construction, more subdivisions have been built, and a new interstate interchange opens this week.
Story continues below gallery
Sullivan doesn’t mind the development in what seems like a continually changing area. The growth is actually exciting, she said.
But she and her neighbors do have concerns about the future of the area around Worthsville Road, question whether the new interchange was needed at all and are sick of dealing with construction.
The owners of nearby Taylor’s Farm Market, at Worthsville and Graham roads, already have been affected by the new interchange — both with having to give up land and losing business to construction.
Before construction on the interchange and widening of Worthsville Road began, Jon and Eloise Taylor were approached by design engineers and the state, who needed about nine acres of land in front of their property and three acres behind it. The land has been in Jon Taylor’s family for about 100 years. Currently, his son farms about 750 acres east of Graham Road.
“This was nothing we really wanted,” Jon Taylor said. “They split the farm in two to put the road behind us, and we’ve had to fight the inconvenience all year.”
Business went down nearly 40 percent during construction on Worthsville Road. The designers agreed to build another entrance to their market that allowed visitors to enter on Graham Road, since the entrance from Worthsville Road was blocked, but it didn’t do much to help business, he said.
“A lot of folks probably said never mind and didn’t bother driving out here,” Jon Taylor said.
Dan Devore, who initially refused to sell his property, still questions whether the new interchange was needed. The interchange ran right through his family’s farm of more than 100 years.
“It’s a lovely area. There are a lot of positives about this area. But I don’t really think the interchange was needed,” Lee said.
But other residents say the interchange will be a huge convenience, giving them a more direct route to work and home and hopefully bringing in more businesses. On the east side of the interchange, city officials envision retail space, offices and an industrial park.
That means new jobs in the area, Traci Brewington said.
The Brewingtons have lived in their home in Central Park for 12 years and chose the location because of the proximity to the interstate by taking Sheek Road to Main Street, Brewington said. Now, she and her husband will have an interchange that is even easier to get to. But she is most looking forward to the new development around the interchange.
“There’s always room to grow around here. New growth means new jobs, which is exciting. It’s not a horrible thing,” Brewington said.
She will be glad to see the end of construction and road work, which has been ongoing for about two years. Worthsville Road has been closed while the interchange was built and while city crews widen it and add a lane in each direction. Sheek Road also was closed while crews work to repair a culvert, or drain under the road. A roundabout at Worthsville and Sheek was recently finished.
Copperfield resident Gary Brendall said it has been hard to get excited about one project finishing when others still are ongoing and closed roads forced residents to use multiple detours.
But with the interchange opening this week, Worthsville Road will have one lane of traffic open in each direction between I-65 and U.S. 31. Construction on Sheek Road will end. Construction on Worthsville Road is planned to be complete by the middle of next year, according to city officials.
“Construction has been a pain, but the interchange will be great when it opens. Everything around here is starting to grow and become a little bit nicer,” Central Park resident Anthony Britt said. “I think the roads and the interchange will make a huge difference. This area is improving and I think it needed this interchange for that to happen.”