After more than four years of planning, anticipation, direction and redirection, the Oak Grove Village mall project is becoming a reality.
On Thursday, several local officials — from the federal level to the local level — were on hand to see the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Oak Grove Village mall, which will be on Fort Campbell Boulevard across from Fort Campbell’s Gate 7.
“I guarantee you that the speeches will be shorter than the time frame it’s taken us to get to this point today,” joked Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville. Pendleton has lobbied for the project since it was first proposed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, you’re talking about a field of dreams when you take a look and see what’s behind us and see what this is here,” he said. “But, the main important thing is, when you look across to Gate 7 and you see where our military is, this right here will be one of the grandest things that’s ever happened for the quality of life to our military people.”
Developers promise Oak Grove Village will be more than just a mall. The project outline has it becoming a retail hub for Oak Grove, including stores, business offices, restaurants and a 12-screen movie theater. It will have pedestrian areas, as well as other amusement.
Carmike Cinemas announced Tuesday that it will be the first business to sign on with Oak Grove Village. Company officials said the theater will be state-of-the-art in design and technology.
On hand for the official turning of the dirt were U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., state Sen. R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, Christian Judge-Executive Steve Tribble, County Attorney Mike Foster, Oak Grove Mayor Dan Potter, City Planner Bill Chaudoin and members of the Oak Grove City Council. Those on hand also included project manager Lucia Albers and her son, Monte Albers de Leon, who were joined by her husband, Monte Albers.
“This economic development project is going to mean so much to this area,” Whitfield said. “We look forward to a close partnership, working with them to provide jobs for this area and this wonderful project.”
Lucia Albers praised Pendleton for his work and dedication in making the project possible.
“I’ve been all over the state, and I don’t know since Toyota came that we’ve ever announced a project in the state of Kentucky that will bring 4,000 or 5,000 jobs,” Pendleton said. “In Western Kentucky, I don’t know if we’ve ever had that — but we’re going to have that today, and this is just the beginning of it.”
Construction of Oak Grove Village will be reimbursed through a Tax Increment Funding plan that was passed through the state legislature earlier this year and adopted by the city of Oak Grove and the Christian County Fiscal Court.
Through that plan, 80 percent of most of the taxes generated by the businesses in the Oak Grove Village will go to pay construction costs. These taxes include payroll taxes, sales taxes and property taxes that would normally go to the city or county.
DAVID SNOW is the editor of The Eagle Post of Oak Grove. Reach David at 270-887-3295 or firstname.lastname@example.org.