Leaders from all over Christian County met for the State of the Community Eye Opener Breakfast event at the James E. Bruce Convention Center on Tuesday morning.

Hosted by the Christian County Chamber of Commerce, the event focused on multiple countywide improvements.

Business leaders in attendance heard updates from Christian County Emergency Management, City of Hopkinsville, City of Oak Grove, Christian County Fiscal Court and the Community Vision Plan 2030.

The event was sponsored by the Hopkinsville Electric System and Energynet, Christian County Fiscal Court and the City of Hopkinsville.

Randy Graham, Christian County’s director of emergency management, highlighted projects the county has taken on over in the last year.

Graham included the county’s COVID-19 response, a grant that funded new voting machines, body camera upgrades for the Christian County Sheriff’s Department, country road projects and improvements at Ruff Park.

The county received a $554,000 grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, Graham said, adding that they were already in the process of phasing out old machines.

“They were in the process of replacing those over the next two or three years because they were becoming obsolete. This grant came at a wonderful time. (We) didn’t have to spend tax dollars to replace those,” Graham said.

He also mentioned the county’s partnership between Hopkinsville Electric System and Engergynet and Pennyrile Electric to provide broadband services across Christian County.

“We’re really excited about that and what it provides for the county, the high speed fiber connectivity that it will provide for our citizens as well as business and education,” he said.

Oak Grove Mayor Theresa Jarvis detailed the growth the city has witnessed during the pandemic.

Jarvis highlighted some of the businesses that opened in the past 15 months, including Captain D’s, The Flip’N Axe Throwing Venue, Respawn Coffee Company and the Oak Grove Gaming and Racing Facility.

The city of Oak Grove is also in the process of building a new Oak Grove Fire and Police Department, Jarvis said.

“Our police force is the best it’s ever been,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis also applauded City Clerk Angela Comperry for submitting and receiving more grant money than the city has ever received.

“We’re growing down here in South Christian County, and we hope to continue to do so — as far up 41-A as we can go and as far west on I-24.”

Hopkinsvile Mayor Wendell Lynch said the city was focused on COVID-19 response but also financial management, public safety, software and cybersecurity upgrade and staff pay equity.

Hopkinsville is currently in the first phase of trying to close the staff pay equity gap, Lynch said.

“Our positions are worth what they’re worth. We need to pay people in those positions what they’re worth if they’re performing at the proper level,” Lynch said. “This year we started with our management staff and the city council approved the plan.”

Lynch said the staff pay equity gap will be addressed for all the city’s nearly 300 employees.

With the upgrade of software and cybersecurity programs, Lynch said code enforcement will now be easier for the city to track.

“We had file cabinets full of paperwork that we used to access to see what people owed up. All of that will be uploaded onto a platform that will be able to be accessed from multiple lines.

Lynch also updated the those in attendance about the COVID-19 numbers in the city.

The City of Hopkinsville has vaccinated roughly 27,000 people, seen about 7,000 positive cases and 101 COVID-19 deaths.

Community business leaders and city officials last heard from Taylor Hayes, Christian County Community Vision 2030 Project Coordinator.

The Vision 2030 project is a grassroots movement that will help improve all of Christian County.

Hayes said the project received almost 1,300 surveys with 5,000 new ideas for the county.

The survey focused on five areas — economy, housing, safety, livability and education and workforce.

“I am proud to call this place home,” said Hayes, who urged attendees to get involved in the project.

Additional information about the 2030 Vision Plan can be found at www.chris tiancountyvision.org.

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