By Jonna Spelbring Priester
Thanks to a $294,000 federal appropriation, the Henry County Commerce Park, near Campbellsburg, may finally get much needed infrastructure. U.S. Representative Geoff Davis presented the check to the Henry County Fiscal Court Tuesday morning in New Castle.
Davis said Tuesday morning that he would like to see the "Henry County model" of cooperation between cities, county and state government "all over Kentucky."
"It's not about politics, it's about working together," he said. "Through partnerships, we can get a lot done."
Henry County Judge-Executive John Logan Brent said the funding, applied for in February would go toward the development of infrastructure within the commerce park.
"The funding would go toward - engineering and lay out, and then toward getting things site-ready," he said. "Installation of water and sewer lines, building road bed, paving the road. That's what these funds can go toward, that's what the application was made for."
He added that this was not the first time the county applied for the funds, noting that in 2006, a similar grant application was made.
"Congressman Davis fought for us, and got about a half million appropriated in the federal transportation budget," Brent said. "It was the largest appropriation for a commerce park in the state of Kentucky. When the composition of the senate and the house changed, the senate took over and basically started from scratch on all of the spending bills."
In February 2007, Brent reapplied for the funds.
The $294,000 for the commerce park is one of two appropriations Davis helped secure for his district. The second is a $490,000 appropriation for a sewage treatment facility in Goshen.
Brent said the $294,000 is "the first direct federal appropriation I am aware of Henry County getting in a long time."
"We feel honored and are very grateful to Congressman Davis for securing the funding for us."
Brent said that with recent discussion in Campbellsburg about surplus sewer project funds, the commerce park could be primed for development.
"If they decide to go forth with what was presented (in December), that should put the county in decent shape as far as getting the interior infrastructure (of the park) done," Brent said. But he said actual progress on the development of the park's roads, water and sewer could still be some time off.
"Folks won't be seeing anything for a few months," he said. "We'd still have to do engineering on that and the design."
Development of the park's infrastructure, Brent said, likely would make the park more attractive to potential developers.
"What it means for the area is - there's a statistic that says 80 percent of all industry locates within five miles of an interstate," he said. "Those are pretty significant percentages and Campbellsburg is the only interstate exit we have that has sewers. So I think it's important to capitalize on I-71 that runs through our county, and Campbellsburg is kind of a natural place to do that."
Magistrate David Brown, who represents the Campbellsburg area, said he hoped development of the commerce park's infrastructure would bring new businesses in.
"Certainly, if we can get some roads out there and some sewers, we can get some lots sold off," he said. Brown also said he believed that if the park were developed, it could lend some influence in the development of a Campbellsburg bypass.
The $294,000 presented by Davis, he said, would help to, at a minimum, get the front lots of the commerce park opened up.
Campbellsburg Mayor Carl Rucker said that while the commerce park currently is outside city limits, the city may consider annexation of the property. Though he declined to say exactly when annexation might occur, "I'm going to say in the very near future."
The 60-acre commerce park is located just outside of Campbellsburg next to Southern States and was purchased with recaptured Community Development Block Grant funds four years ago.
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