Elderly widow weeps, pleads to save home of FIFTY FIVE years from highway expansion

A 76-year-old widow is begging heartless developers to spare her home that she has lived in for 55 years from a highway expansion project in Kentucky.

The Mountain Parkway expansion would run right through the middle of the 64-acre property that Janet Arnett and her late husband, Lowell, bought in 1969, bulldozing her home in the process. They built a house on the property in 1998 after living in mobile homes for decades.

The Arnetts have had four generations of their family grow up at “Mamaw’s House’ on the property in Magoffin County, Kentucky. All of those memories could be wiped away due to eminent domain.

“It’s a small house, but to me, it’s a mansion,” the widow tearfully told WYMT. “I’m 76, I’m not going to be around too much longer, why can’t I stay here, in the house, my house?”

(Video Credit: WSAZ3)

The developers offered Arnett money for her land so they could expand the road. But the widow doesn’t want their money. She wants to live out her days in her home and pass in her own bed. She says her memories in the house are priceless.

The family went to local officials and pleaded with them to change the plans and divert the highway around their home but were coldly informed that wasn’t possible. They were also told the home could not be moved because there would be no way to build a new septic tank.

“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. I just want to stay in my house,” Arnett wept.

Her husband passed away in 2015. The home had been the center of their life together.

“When I was growing up, Mamaw’s house was always this place of refuge where I could go,” Arnett’s granddaughter Zoe Parker told WYMT. “We cooked together and this is where I grew up playing in the creek, catching crawdads, and catching lightning bugs.”

“This is the epicenter of our family and Mamaw’s place will always be Mamaw’s house, whether it be right where it is, or down the road – but it’s tough if it gets bulldozed,” she added.

Lanessa DeMarchis, Arnett’s daughter, is joining with family, friends, and residents to pressure state officials to change their minds about the highway route.

“They are forcing her to move. They will bulldoze her house to the ground,” DeMarchis wrote in a petition that is circulating. “This is the house we raised our kids in. This is the house where we hid Easter eggs, celebrated birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.”

“This is the house where ALL of us escaped to when life just got too complicated. This is where our kids ran barefoot and grew their own vegetables and caught lightning bugs,” she told the media outlet.

“This is the house with a front porch swing, where very meaningful conversations took place. Yes, they are ‘buying’ it from her. But, she doesn’t care about the money. She wants to live her remaining years in her home,” Arnett’s daughter asserted.


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles