If you have tried to enter Russellville’s Square from the west in the past week, you have been met with fencing and a detour sign that may have you wondering why.

With the demolition beginning on the old Duncan’s Drug Store in recent days, a state permit with the Kentucky Transportation Department has been issued to allow the thoroughfare to be closed for two weeks. Tearing down of the structure poses a safety concern due to being located directly on Fourth Street.

After the Duncan building is down, demolition will begin on the old Southern Deposit Bank directly across Fourth Street from the Duncan property. This will require yet another permit for closure.

Bill Pearson, Russellville’s Zoning Administrator, said a permit is required to close a state road, which Fourth Street is.

“The permit to my understanding is for two weeks beginning Monday, Oct. 30. If the demolition isn’t complete at that time, she (Deborah Hirsch) will have to apply for another one. Hirsch owns the properties that are scheduled to come down. She is planning on building two luxury hotels in their place. Hirsch is also the owner-operator of Ariella Bistro and Bar on the Russellville square.

According to Hirsch, the facades of the two new structures are to match the architectural design of the square.

The Hotel Duncan will have extended stay rooms in the front, with apartments in the rear for staff. There will be a sports bar on the first floor. The Hotel Gaelle will have 38 rooms and suites, a coffee shop, retail store, exercise room, conference room and a spacious, luxurious event space.

Hirsch recently acquired the building that once housed the News-Democrat & Leader for years. Before the newspaper, it served as the home of a popular hardware store. Plans for this historic structure include an ice cream parlor and a possible motorcycle shop, with office space for lease upstairs.

Demolition began slow on the two properties on Fourth Street as permits were being issued. According to Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton, all permits have now been awarded and he anticipates demolition to pick up. This is not a city project.

Hirsch has hired a company out of Tennessee made up of retired veterans to complete the demolition. The group does most of their work in the early morning hours, according to Hirsch.