By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2021 Issue
As the world envisions and works toward a post-COVID economy, Kentucky continues investing in its communities and developing initiatives to prepare the state for sustainable growth.
These investments range from site preparation and infrastructure improvements that will create jobs and make the state more attractive to new industry, to workforce training programs to prepare Kentuckians for quality job opportunities in high-demand sectors—all top priorities of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and his administration.
“Here in Kentucky, we’ve been laying the groundwork necessary to sprint out of the gate once we have defeated COVID-19,” Gov. Beshear said. “To accomplish that, it’s imperative we equip every part of our state with the resources needed to bring high-quality, good-paying jobs to those communities. The future is full of opportunity, and the time to act on that potential is now.”
One prime example of preparing communities for future growth is Kentucky’s Build-Ready program, which eliminates much of the grunt work typically involved in preparing a site and allows businesses to begin building immediately. The state’s 17 certified Build-Ready sites include pads ready to accommodate a building of 50,000 square feet with the ability to expand to 100,000 square feet or more, as well as utilities extending to the site’s edge. At its core, Build-Ready enables companies to save time and money by building in Kentucky.
In late February, the South Central Kentucky city of Morgantown joined the growing list of communities preparing for rapid development and job creation. The Butler County tract, located in the Morgantown Industrial Park South, includes a 50,000-square-foot building pad on 9.5 acres zoned for industrial use, and includes access to water, sewer, natural gas, electric and broadband.
Additionally, the Build-Ready site at Bluegrass Crossings Business Centre in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, now offers the largest pad in the statewide program following the completion of an expansion in January. At 320,000 square feet, the pad more than doubled in size. It includes access to water, sewer, natural gas, electric and broadband, as well as plans for a 75,000-square-foot spec building.
In addition to the new Morgantown site and the upgraded pad in Beaver Dam, Kentucky’s 15 other Build-Ready sites include tracts in the John H. Stigall Business Center in Danville, the Highland Glen Industrial Park in Glasgow, the 4 Star Regional Industrial Park in Henderson, the Shelton Lane Industrial Park in Russellville, Progress Park in Horse Cave, Paradise Regional Business Park in Greenville, Commerce Industrial Park in Hopkinsville, Heartland Commerce and Technology Park in Campbellsville, EastPark in Ashland, Princeton Industrial Park in Princeton, the Woodland Industrial Park in Mount Sterling, Harlan County Business Park in Cumberland, Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex in Russell Springs, Interstate 24 Business Park in Cadiz and the Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green.
To date, companies have selected four former Build-Ready certified sites for new location projects, as the program has proven effective at getting companies online in a quick, cost-efficient manner.
Throughout the past year, the state has also allocated tens of millions of dollars in grants toward infrastructure improvements statewide, as well as funding for workforce development and training. Recent examples include $2.5 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants to upgrade waterlines and create jobs in Eastern Kentucky, as well as nearly $575,000 in ARC funding to provide commercial driver’s license training for 150 students annually at Hazard Community and Technical College. The latter will prepare students for quality job opportunities in transportation and logistics, an industry in which Kentucky excels.
DISCOVER KENTUCKY INITIATIVE
Another recent develop that stands to benefit the state is the Discover Kentucky Initiative, which Gov. Beshear announced in February. In partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the new initiative aims to introduce Chamber members to European companies interested in the U.S. market, lay groundwork for partnerships and build long-term relationships aimed at creating new investments, jobs and economic strength in Kentucky.
These efforts stand to capitalize on opportunities, including potential distributor agreements, corporate partnerships and increased trade. The state’s economy will benefit as the initiative creates and nurtures relationships, aiming to translate them over the long-term into investments, new facilities and jobs for Kentuckians.
Through Discover Kentucky, the state and its businesses will connect with European companies having significant interest in the U.S. market. The initiative’s process begins with Team Kentucky’s European representative office in Hamburg, Germany. That office regularly fields inquiries from European companies interested in establishing distributor partnerships or other agreements to enter the U.S. market.
Many of these companies, however, aren’t yet ready to commit to building a factory, establishing an office or setting up a sales operation. For that reason, the long-term connections Discover Kentucky will maintain stand to keep Kentucky as a leading location whenever a company is ready to pursue growth in the U.S.
Kentucky continues to attract new investment and jobs from European companies. Last year, despite the pandemic, the commonwealth saw 16 projects announced by European companies, representing nearly $130 million in planned investment and 188 new full-time jobs committed across the coming years.
European companies today operate more than 220 facilities in Kentucky, employing more than 37,000 people full-time. Those facilities often form the economic backbones of communities across the commonwealth and each of those successes started with a relationship. For more on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs, visit www.CED.ky.gov. [This section was written by David Hamilton.]
Relocating or Expanding Your Business In Kentucky
Considering Kentucky for your company’s relocation or expansion project? Check out Business Facilities’ Kentucky Incentives and Workforce Development Guide.