Fiscal court hears report from Lake Barkley Partnership

Amanda Davenport, the executive director of the Lake Barkley Partnership for Economic Development, spoke at Tuesday’s Caldwell Fiscal Court meeting about the organization’s progress on local economic development.

Amanda Davenport, the executive director of the Lake Barkley Partnership for Economic Development, spoke at Tuesday’s Caldwell Fiscal Court meeting to update the court on the organization’s activities.

The Porter Road Butcher Meat Company expansion, the Geronimo solar energy farm and potential economic growth were among the topics at hand.

“(The Porter Road expansion) is bringing 83 new jobs into the city,” she said. “They’re going to revitalize a building that has only been vacant for about a year, where part of the Princeton (Hosiery Mills) sock factory was.

“Right now, we’re working with them on finding some other state grant. There has been some money open up for meat processors, so it looks like they’re going to have a little more money going toward their expansion. Their plan is to be open by March of next year.”

Davenport said that Gov. Andy Beshear had a meeting Tuesday to discuss energy in Kentucky, and solar farms would be among the topics there.

“Basically, we’re looking at the solar farm as a new industry that’s coming into town,” she said. “They’re not really going to bring a ton of jobs, but there’s going to be a lot of investment in the development of that farm and a lot of income for farmers and new tax (revenue) for the county.”

Davenport said the partnership was working with someone trying to open a daycare locally. She said she believed the person had found a building to renovate, and that the Pennyrile Area Development District office may be able to provide low-interest loans to help get that business going.

“I really hope that daycare works out,” said Caldwell Judge-Executive Larry Curling. “That’s going to be a big plus, especially for those people going out to those factories to work.”

Davenport added that she will take part in the inaugural Women in Economic Development Conference hosted by Murray State University over the next two months.

The virtual series provides networking opportunities, professional development and collaboration among women in economic development. The Lake Barkley Partnership is also a sponsor of the event.

“I see a lot of competition for factory jobs and manufacturing jobs, but white collar, (information technology) and headquarter-type jobs would also be a great asset to us,” said District 4 Magistrate Jeff Simms.

“A lot of those are dependent on having high-speed internet,” Davenport said. “That’s something that we’re working with the other three counties (Crittenden, Livingston and Lyon) in a partnership for a feasibility study for internet in the region.

“We’re also very supportive of Kenergy on their plan to bring high-speed internet to our area, their service territory.”

  • The fiscal court approved the sole bid for a new ambulance from Penn Care for $131,747. Penn Care is based in Niles, Ohio. The court had budgeted $135,000 for a new ambulance.

“This purchase puts us on very good standing with our (ambulance) service,” Simms said. “This should be the last purchase for some time on new ambulances. … Replacement is very necessary for maintenance and liability reasons, but it also keeps the fleet in newer condition and working order where you don’t have all the expenses up front.”

  • District 3 Magistrate Brent Stallins said that there was a situation near Dawson Springs that could lead the fiscal court to consider zoning for the county.

“I’ve got some people near Dawson that are highly upset, and I don’t blame them,” he said. “A gentleman’s put three grain bins right at (other people’s) front door, and it’s a mess. It sounds like a jet plane taking off all day long, and the dust is…thick, all over everything.

“That’s the reason they put zoning in in places. I’ve had to tell these people that the county doesn’t have zoning. I don’t know what recourse they can take. I’ve talked to (County Attorney) Roy (Massey IV) — but they’re upset. We’ve got to be better neighbors, or you’re going to start seeing zoning.”

  • Curling said the blacktopping efforts on county roads had ended for the year.

“We ended up with 32 miles this year,” he said. “Our goal is 20 miles each year, so we’re 12 miles over what we normally do.

“We’ve got 320 miles of roads. If we do 20 miles a year, that would put us on a 16-year rotation. If we do three or four miles — like, sometimes, we had been doing — that puts you on a 90-year rotation. I’ve never heard of a road lasting 90 years.”

In reporting on the county’s COVID-19 numbers, Curling said that Caldwell County had 77 cases in September, 33 in August, 36 in July and 15 cases from March to June.

“So far in October, we have had 41 cases,” he said. “If you divide that over the 12 days that have been reported, you gives you about 3 ½ cases a day. That’s going to put you over 100 cases for October if we continue on this path.

“These things are important,” he said, indicating his mask. “They are. Wear your mask. It’s no big deal. I know it’s political for some reason.”