FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday funding for access roads to spur development at industrial parks in Warren, Barren and Fulton counties.
“Even as we battle and sacrifice to save lives and control the spread of COVID-19, we still are working to grow our Kentucky economy,” Gov. Beshear said.
“The work of growing our economy includes creating a favorable environment for manufacturing. That, in turn, requires more than just acreage. It requires investment in vital infrastructure, which includes access roads,” Beshear said. “We want our communities to be able to capitalize on development opportunities, but opportunity has to be met by preparation.”
Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said the new projects show how good streets and roads are indispensable to economic development. “The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is proud to be part of Team Kentucky and to have a role in preparing the ground for new, job-creating industrial sites,” Gray said.
In Warren County, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is committing $500,000 from its Industrial Access Road program for a project by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce to extend Prosperity Drive in the Kentucky Transpark.
The extended roadway will serve a new manufacturing plant being built by CROWN Cork & Seal USA and open 296 additional, rail-served acres for development within the Transpark. Beshear helped to break ground for the Crown plant in February. The plant will make aluminum beverage cans.
“We are thankful that Kentucky is committed to investing in our infrastructure as a strategy to grow economic development success, which drives return on investment,” Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said. “The Crown Cork & Seal project alone is bringing $147 million to our economy through the creation of 126 jobs. It’s wonderful that they’re building a 327,000-square-foot facility in the Transpark.”
Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said connecting the Kentucky Transpark to additional acreage is a key component of the community’s growth strategy. “This property sits on a CSX rail main line and is ready for industrial development. Bowling Green and Warren County are ideally positioned for the transportation of materials and products throughout the United States. Developing this property will position us to continue to attract manufacturing and distribution companies that can benefit from our location,” Judge Buchanon said.
In Barren County, KYTC is committing $500,000 from the Industrial Access Road program to assist the Barren County Economic Authority in developing South Cooper Industrial Park along U.S. 68 in Glasgow. The local authority is in the process of acquiring 152 acres for the site. Once the purchase is completed, the funding will be used for construction of turn lanes on U.S. 68 and the access road itself.
“On behalf of the Barren County Fiscal Court and residents of Barren County I would like to express our gratitude for the support provided by Governor Beshear and Secretary Gray for the funding of the new access road for the South Cooper Industrial Park,” said Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale. “The development of the new industrial park will bring much-needed job opportunities for our residents. Receipt of these funds will for sure help us to expedite the development.”
“Creating jobs and improving our infrastructure is of utmost importance,” said Glasgow Mayor Harold Armstrong. “South Cooper Industrial Park will bring new business to the area, which is great news for our community. I’m pleased the Transportation Cabinet is providing this grant, and I look forward to the development of the South Cooper Industrial Park.”
In Fulton County, KYTC has agreed to provide up to $146,500 to Fulton County Fiscal Court toward design and construction of a boulevard entrance to a new industrial park that is a joint venture of Fulton and Hickman counties. The site, which is in the City of Fulton, is contiguous to rail lines and less than a mile from the Interstate 69 corridor. It will be able to accommodate as many as seven small manufacturers or distribution companies, potentially providing hundreds of jobs.
“This park is a joint venture between Fulton and Hickman counties,” said Fulton County Judge-Executive Jim Martin. “We appreciate that Governor Beshear understands the value of our counties working together. Thank you, Governor Beshear and Secretary Gray, for supporting this park and our partnership with funding of this access road. This industrial park represents new economic opportunity for our counties.”
Hickman County Judge-Executive Kenny Wilson also expressed sincere appreciation for the funding. “The joint venture of economic development between Fulton and Hickman counties will be jump-started with this funding award. This award is an integral part as we strive to bring new jobs and greater economic opportunity to Fulton and Hickman counties,” Judge Wilson said.
City of Fulton Mayor David Prater said the project is significant not just for Fulton and Hickman counties but for the entire Jackson Purchase.
“On behalf of the City of Fulton, I would like to thank Governor Beshear and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for their forethought in awarding funds to energize our joint venture Industrial Park. I look forward to the future economic growth of both Fulton and Hickman Counties due to this award,” Prater said.