The Christian Fiscal Court approved an agreement Tuesday morning to reimburse interest payments on a bank loan for the new Commerce Industrial Park spec building project that is to begin building soon.

John Crenshaw of the Hopkinsville Industrial Foundation spoke to the Fiscal Court giving an update on where the Industrial Foundation and the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council are with the new spec building process.

Crenshaw reminded the magistrates that the court approved the resolution giving support of the project and promising to split the interest payments for the loan of the project with the City of Hopkinsville in February of 2020.

Since then, the design phase of the spec building has concluded and after putting the construction out for bid to nine different companies, the Industrial Foundation chose local construction company Bradem Construction.

“We selected Bradem Construction — Greg Sandifer has done some projects for the county and he was a local bidder,” Crenshaw said. “So, he was our best bid.”

Crenshaw continued to share that the price of construction was more than initially expected, however, the interest rates were lower than first anticipated.

“So, I’m going to be able to still be within the range I told you a year ago,” Crenshaw said to the magistrates.

At a regular Fiscal Court meeting in February, 2020, Crenshaw told the court that its annual interest payment shouldn’t be more than $50,000, and he said the interest would be paid back once the building sells.

The facility will be a 100,000 square-foot spec building that will be constructed on a 22-acre Kentucky certified Build Ready site in the park off Pembroke Road. The cost of the building was previously estimated at $2 to $3 million.

On Tuesday, Crenshaw did not share how much the total cost of construction of the building would cost, but did share that the Industrial Foundation would be using $1.8 million of local funding, which includes funding from Christian, Todd and Trigg counties.

He also said the cost was more than initially expected, which forced the Industrial Foundation to cut costs in regards to the building.

Despite that, Crenshaw as well as SWK EDC Executive Director Carter Hendricks, told the court that the building has already generated interest.

“This is what industry is looking for now and as Carter (Hendricks) said, we’ve already received a number of interested parties,” Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw continued to update the magistrates sharing that the Industrial Foundation had chosen local Planter’s Bank to obtain a loan for the building. He said the loan has a fixed rate and locked in payments for a total of five years.

“We thought that was best to go for a fixed-rate loan, especially with the low interest rates that we have right now,” Crenshaw said.

He then said that the next step in the process was for the court to consider the reimbursement agreement.

“This is an agreement that we’ve put forth to the city and the county and that just says that the city and the county will reimburse the Hopkinsville Industrial Foundation for the interest on a quarterly basis for the loan,” Crenshaw said, explaining the agreement.

“The other reimbursement part of this is when we sell this building, we will reimburse the city and county for the interest we’ve paid, which we’ve done with the past 10 or 11 spec building the Industrial Foundation has built.”

Following Crenshaw’s update and explanation of the agreement, Magistrate Darrell Gustafson made a motion to accept the agreement.

“We’ve all had an opportunity to read this reimbursement agreement and it’s worked well since the first one I was involved with in 1989, so I would offer a motion to authorize (Judge-Executive Steve Tribble) to sign the reimbursement agreement as presented,” Gustafson said.

Gustafson added, and Crenshaw confirmed, that the total amount the county and city would pay for the interest payments would be around $48,000 and if it’s fully dispersed, the first year shouldn’t be over $26,000.

“Hopefully, it’ll be sold soon after that,” Gustafson said.

Ultimately, the court voted unanimously to approve the agreement, allowing the Industrial Foundation to move forward in the spec building process.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the court gave Christian County Health Department Director Kayla Bebout gave an update regarding the local COVID-19 vaccination process.

Bebout shared that CCHD was selected as one out of 33 regional sites to help the state in the Phase 1a portion of the vaccination process.

“We are set up as a regional site so that if there is anybody in the area that feels that they are part of healthcare — as long as they are providing medical care, they can go to the kycovid website and go under “Healthcare Workers” and they can find the link for registration,” Bebout said.

“Again, that is open to everyone in the region.”

She continued to share that CCHD is currently still in Phase 1a and trying to finish vaccinating all local health care workers.

Bebout also explained that as CCHD looks forward to Phase 1b, CCHD allowed individuals aged 70+ to pre-register for vaccinations once those are available to CCHD.

“As we continue to proceed forward, we have a form for the 70+, that they’ve started to fill out,” she said. “I can tell you that we already have nearly 1,300 individuals that have shown interest in getting the vaccine.”

Bebout said that CCHD is looking to begin phase 1b this week starting with 70+ and school personnel. She added that CCHD would be rolling those vaccinations out as the department receives them from the state and vaccinations will be done by appointment only.

In other court news

  • The court unanimously approved the Christian County Clerk’s budget for the 2021 calendar year.
  • The court unanimously approved the Christian Sheriff’s Office’s budget for the 2021 calendar year.
  • The court unanimously approved the Christian County Road Program for the 2021 calendar year, which included no changes from the previous year’s program, according to Tribble.

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