Industry Talk

Emily Jones of Tennessee Valley Authority speaks Nov. 30 during the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new spec building in the I24 Business Park.

The late Lyn Bailey, mayor of Cadiz from January 1999 through December 2014, always encouraged people to leave things a little better than they found them.

It was a piece of advice that resonated with outgoing Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander, who recalled Bailey’s words while speaking during the groundbreaking for a new 100,000-square-foot spec building that is being constructed in the Interstate 24 Business Park.

“I feel like that this project is leaving things a little better than we may have found it,” the judge-executive noted of the spec building.

Ceremonies ushering in the new facility took place early Nov. 30 at a site just adjacent to the recently renamed Wabash manufacturing plant in Cadiz.

Local, regional and state officials gathered in the cold temperatures to turn dirt on the project, with comments shared by South Western Kentucky EDC Executive Director Carter Hendricks, Clay Stone of the Kentucky Association of Economic Development, Emily Jones of the Tennessee Valley Authority and Cadiz Mayor Todd King, in addition to Alexander.

The judge said the building is creating opportunities for economic growth and new jobs in the community “way into the future,” he said.

“I believe, once we get it built, they will come, and the jobs will show up here,” the judge noted.

Alexander observed that the business park’s close proximity to the interstate creates a great opportunity for a site for a spec building.

He commended former state senator and incoming judge executive Stan Humphries in helping the building project come to fruition.

Humphries during his time in the Kentucky Senate championed House Bill 114, which Alexander said has provided TVA in lieu of tax funds that have come back to Trigg County and are being used to support the spec building.

“Without this type of money to be able to service this type of project, we would not be able to do this,” the judge-executive noted.

Alexander also acknowledged the contributions of others who he said helped make the project possible, people such as former Kentucky Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland, former Pennyrile Area Development District Director Danny Bozarth and Jim Wallace, former vice chairman of the Trigg County EDC, who he said know more about economic development than he does.

Alexander said he believes industries will want to locate in the new spec building, and Hendricks assured the crowd gathered in a tent on the park property that there have already been phone calls and interest in the facility.

The EDC director noted that the new building is being constructed on a 15-acre site where it will have plenty of room for growth and is located less than half a mile from the interstate.

“. . .Any company from anywhere will be proud to call (it) home,” he said, observing the project isn’t just about breaking ground for a building.

Officials last week were turning dirt to grow jobs for the future while working to recruit the next corporate partner, following in the footsteps of Wabash, Kentucky Machine and Engineering, Ethridge Plastics and others, according to Hendricks.

“These are jobs that will lead to transformational opportunities for individuals and families,” the EDC director noted.

Cadiz Mayor Todd King said the city is excited for the project to begin and ecstatic about the continued growth of the business park.

He noted that offering a facility like the new spec building creates endless opportunities for an industry to locate in the community.

“This building will bring in a new industry that will help the community, employ our labor force, (and) bring in tax dollars,” the mayor said. “That’s positive all the way around.”

King thanked Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and the state Cabinet for Economic Development for supporting the community’s grant request and the Cadiz-Trigg County Industrial Development Authority that was awarded the $500,000 grant for the park upgrades and new spec building.

Officials announced earlier this month that the local development authority had received the grant; it was made possible through a state pilot Product Development Initiative program that helps further site selection and building development initiatives across the state.

Hendricks noted that Stone’s organization helps administer the grant that is helping to fund the spec building project “so they literally helped to fund this very project,” the director said.

The EDC director also highlighted the three financial institutions that have partnered to help finance the spec building project, i.e., Planters Bank, United Southern Bank and the Bank of Cadiz.

Additionally, Hendricks recognized TVA for providing training, grants, technical assistance and other needs for the current building project.

TVA representative Jones said helping communities prepare for economic growth is a fundamental part of TVA’s mission and one the agency carries out by recruiting new industries to the region, helping existing industries grow and serving with partners to foster economic growth.

She noted that TVA recognizes the importance of having available sites and buildings so communities can be competitive; the agency has its own product development program to help communities develop their assets.

“The spec building in Cadiz-Trigg County is now situated for impactful economic development,” Jones observed of the regional EDC’s efforts.

Stone congratulated the community and thanked officials for the opportunity to show an example of a successful economic development strategy in Kentucky.

He said communities like Cadiz taking part in his agency’s pilot program have helped it grow from an initial $6 million to $100 million.

“We look forward to improving sites, which leads to improving communities and having more celebrations like this,” Stone noted.

The I-24 Business Park that is home to the new spec building became reality in 2001 when the development authority purchased 100 acres to create a place for manufacturing companies; Transcraft, now Wabash, was the first industry in the park.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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