Christian Fiscal Court approved a resolution Tuesday showing its support of a new building initiative in the Commerce Industrial Park and committing to guarantee the interest payments on a bank loan for the spec building project.

John Crenshaw of the Hopkinsville Industrial Foundation spoke to magistrates at the court’s regularly scheduled meeting at the Christian County Courthouse, asking them to support the project he says might begin in the summer.

The court gave unanimous approval to the project, with Magistrate Phillip Peterson making the initial motion in favor of the resolution and Magistrate Rich Liebe seconding the measure.

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 100,00- square-foot spec building that will be constructed on a 22-acre Kentucky certified Build Ready site in the park off Pembroke Road.

“We fully expect this building to be something that will be sought after by our local industry or a prospect,” said Crenshaw, who noted that manufacturers want to know when they will be in production and they want a facility they can use.

He said having a facility has become a necessary thing in today’s economic development, and Crenshaw noted that it has been the role of the industrial foundation to have something to sell, a building that is available for industries.

“It’s a problem about who to fill it, but it’ll be a good problem to have,” he said.

Crenshaw noted that the industrial foundation has asked the city and the county to be a part of this spec building project, given the size of the planned facility.

The foundation has “a couple of good grants” to fund the project, and the recent resolution pertained to one of those grants, a Kentucky Product Development Initiative that has awarded a $500,000 grant for the project.

Under the parameters of the resolution, the foundation will be the beneficiary of the grant, and the foundation, together with the City of Hopkinsville and the fiscal court will need to “collectively commit to guaranteeing the interest payments on a bank loan for the spec building project,” the document noted.

Crenshaw said the cost of the building is estimated at $2 to $3 million.

He noted that construction on the new spec building will start after the spring, and added that he’ll be happy if the work starts around the first of June.

Tuesday’s court meeting also included an update from Alissa Keller, executive director of the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County, about construction efforts at the Pennyroyal Area Museum that are drawing to a close.

Keller said the newly renovated museum will open to the public with a ribbon cutting slated for 3 p.m. Feb. 27, with a preview party for donors Feb. 21.

Among those donors is the fiscal court, which allocated $1 million in its 2018-2019 budget for the renovations, and Keller thanked the court for its contribution.

“Your money has been well-spent at this time,” said Keller, who highlighted updates to the downtown facility that include 717 new artifacts and exhibits featuring famed Hopkinsville psychic Edgar Cayce, farming and local music trends.

“I hope you will join us at the preview party and at the grand opening,” she said.

Two representatives of Christian County Kentucky United, Sherry Byerline and Larry Hulsey, were at the court meeting a third time to ask the court to approve a resolution declaring its support specifically for Second Amendment gun rights.

“I agree we support all the Bill of Rights, however, this is the one that’s under attack at this moment,” said Hulsey, owner of Gun Monkey Firearms in Crofton.

Hulsey, who noted that the Second Amendment protects all the others, told the court he has a firearms business because he believes in the right to bear arms. He said his group just wants to send a strong message to lawmakers in Frankfort.

“Do not touch our rights in Kentucky,” he said.

Hulsey noted that 107 other counties in the commonwealth have declared themselves to be Second Amendment sanctuary counties, but one other visitor at Tuesday’s court meeting said he doesn’t believe the issue is one for counties.

“Personally, I feel this is not a county issue or a city issue,” Ricky Shaw told magistrates. “I think it should be dealt with at the state.

“I kind of feel that Kentucky is a Second Amendment state,” he added.

In other business

  • Magistrates approved a County Road Aid Cooperative Program resolution and a related agreement that makes possible $1.8 million in road funds for the county.
  • The court approved $190,000 in community development block grant funds that will be used for payroll for staff at the Trilogy Center for Women.
  • Magistrates also approved a policy and procedures manual and inmate rules and regulations at the Christian County Jail and accepted the jail fee schedule.
  • Training incentives were approved for Christian County Magistrates Terry Bowman, Darrell Gustafson, Liebe and Peterson.

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

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

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