Community History – Ludlow – Ludco Terminals Inc.

Ludco Terminals Inc.

In April 1976, the residents of Ludlow were informed of a proposed coal loading dock operation for the city. Ludco Terminals Inc. had been discussing the plan since February with city officials. Mayor Buddy L. Waite and a majority of the council supported the initial proposal. The company proposed to acquire 1 mile of riverfront property in the city between Adela Avenue and Swain Court. The project called for a railroad and river transport center for the distribution of coal, aggregate and grain.

Immediately, large numbers of Ludlow residents began to fight the proposed development. Harold ‘Pete’ Klosterman organized a meeting at the World War II Vets Buil

development would be unhealthy and would destroy Ludlow’s small town appeal. A number of residents picketed city hall to protest the actions of the city government.

A committee developed, called VOLCO (Voice of Ludlow Citizens’ Organization), to fight the Ludco plan. Charles ‘Ducky’ Kleier was elected president of the group. VOLCO printed cards for residents to send to the Army Corps of Engineers and other government agencies. Buttons and t-shirts were also made available to Ludlow residents.

A second informational meeting was held on May 10, 1976 at Ludlow High School auditorium to discuss the Ludco issue. This time over 700 residents attended. Ludco officials assured the people that the transport facility would be dirt free and virtually noiseless. Most residents in attendance voiced their disbelief at Ludco’s claims.

Facing staggering opposition, Ludco withdrew their proposal. The Ludco plan proved to be a very volatile issue in the 1977 mayoral election. Harold ‘Pete’ Klosterman, who led the initial campaign against Ludco, unseated incumbent Mayor Buddy L. Waite who supported the development..

Ludco, however, did not give up on the Ludlow project. In the summer of 1980, Ludco presented a revised plan to the Army Corps of Engineers. The proposal called for a coal storage facility near the Southern Railroad tracks. Coal would be brought into the city by train, transferred to the storage facility, and eventually placed on barges. The proposed facility was capable of handling 12,000 tons of coal per day. Mayor Klosterman’s reaction to the second proposal was simple and to the point, “We didn’t want it the first time, and we don’t want it now.”

VOLCO was again organized with Charles Kleier as president. Residents seized on the issue of health in this second round of the Ludco battle. Members of Sts. Boniface and James Church Social Action Committee requested that the Kentucky Bureau of Environmental Protection study the impact of such a facility on the community and its residents. Many residents feared that the city would become contaminated by coal dust and other unhealthy elements.

On October 30, 1980, a third public meeting was held, this time with the Army Corps of Engineers present. Again, residents attended in large numbers and voiced their anger of the proposal. Ludco officials bowed to the pressure and withdrew their second proposal in February 1981.

News Enterprise, April 8, 1976, p. 1, April 22, 1976, p. 1, April 29, 1976, p. 1, May 13, 1976, p. 1, August 7, 1980, p. 1, August 21, 1980, p. 1, August 14, 1981, p. 1, September 4, 1980, p. 1, October 15, 1980, p. 1, November 5, 1980, p. 1, and February 18, 1981, p. 1.

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