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A state-owned office building that’s had many uses will become the Real ID center for Madisonville. The Transportation Cabinet hopes to open it by mid-March.

A building on Federal Street soon will be the place to get a new federally-approved identification card.

Preparations were underway Thursday for a Real ID office at 56 Federal Street, behind Madisonville Police headquarters. A spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said it’s not ready for the public yet.

“We hope to open it within a month or less,” Naitore Djigenou said from Frankfort. “We’re doing some testing, getting the system set up there.”

Djigenou was reluctant to acknowledge the office address. Four people inside the office were hesitant to comment at all, deferring all questions to Djigenou.

The Madisonville Real ID office will be inside a state-owned building erected in 1956. It was used in recent years as a Kentucky Career Center and an office of the Kentucky Bureau for Social Insurance. But it’s hidden now by a large “for sale” sign in front. The commonwealth has tried to sell it since June 2018.

While the office has a lot of empty space right now, several kiosks with chairs are already in place. At least six cameras are set up to take pictures for what the state calls “Voluntary Travel IDs” — driver’s licenses with black stars.

“We’ll start initially with county residents,” Djigenou said. An expansion beyond Hopkins County will wait “until there’s more capacity.”

Djigenou declined to say how much the Madisonville office will cost to set up. She said the cost can vary based on whether the Real ID office takes over a vacant building or expands space currently in use.

Djigenou said people who want to work at the Real ID office should check with area temporary agencies, because the hiring is under contract. She noted full-time positions could come open at a later date, depending on state legislation and budgeting.

Madisonville made some nearby cities jealous by winning one of the first 12 Kentucky Real ID offices. Officials in Hopkinsville and Owensboro have been lobbying for their own offices in recent weeks. Currently, the only open office in western Kentucky is in Paducah.

Real ID will be required by the federal government for commercial air travel or visits to military bases beginning Thursday, Oct. 1. The cards will differ from regular Kentucky driver’s licenses by a black star.

While Hopkins County waits for its office to open, Djigenou said this is a great time to get your required Real ID documents in order.

“You might need to reorder a Social Security card,” she said. That’s because laminated cards will not be accepted.

Applicants will need to show proof of Social Security, proof of their identity such as a certified birth certificate or a passport, and two proofs of their current residence.

Full details on the requirements for Real ID are available online at drive.ky.gov/confidentKY. Regular driver’s licenses still are available at the Circuit Court Clerk office in the Hopkins County Judicial Center.

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