Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley during his State Of The County address Tuesday to Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce revealed " ... we have just purchased 190 acres for a new industrial park in eastern Pulaski County."
The industrial park is proposed to be located on the "Garner property" at the intersection of East Ky. 80 and Pine Hill Road. The option to purchase was approved by Pulaski County Fiscal Court on May 14.
Chris Girdler, president and CEO of SPEDA (Somerset Pulaski Economic Development Authority), said during a recent speech to members of Somerset Kiwanis Club the area under consideration for an industrial park is currently farmland and its location is near the (undeveloped) corridor of Somerset's northern bypass. Terminus of the northern bypass (I-66) corridor is anticipated to be moved eastward from a junction with Ky. 80 at Barnesburg to the cloverleaf intersection at Ky. 80 and Ky. 461. Funding for that $60 million cloverleaf project is available and construction is set to begin on or before September 2020.
Local officials also have been in conversation with General Electric hierarchy about purchasing the vacant General Electric Somerset Glass Plant property off University Drive to develop an industrial park. Neither Judge Kelley nor Girdler was immediately available to elaborate on Kelley's remarks at the chamber meeting.
Kelley was on a roll during his State of The County address. "Can't you feel the excitement!" he exclaimed, mentioning the already approved Mill Springs Battlefield site as a part of the National Park System, a possible sports complex, an agriculture exposition center and a downtown parking garage.
Then, as sort of a shocker, Kelley's notes, given to a reporter, said: "How about a city-county cable company with better service and lower prices?" He apparently was referring to competition with the existing television cable system owned and operated by Spectrum. However, as aforesaid, Kelley was not available to expound on his comment.
Despite a short-lived gag order on his department heads shortly after taking office five years ago, Kelley now advocates and promotes complete transparency in county government.
"Without trust of its people, no government can achieve sustainable results," Kelley declared to the chamber audience.
Pulaski County government, he said, is transparent in the following ways:
• All financial reports and expenditures are online.
• Pulaski Fiscal Court meetings are on Facebook live, and archived online.
• (There will be) no more backroom deals and illegal meetings.
• All county department websites are updated.
• Monthly radio (frequency or times of radio broadcasts are not available).
• Town hall meetings.
• Open door policy.
"We want you to know we are being good stewards with your taxes ... your prosperity is our goal," said Kelley.
The judge-executive declared " ... we are 'The Capital of Lake Cumberland.' We have more than 4 million visitors annually; they spend nearly $100 million a year in our hotels, stores and restaurants. The multiple effect is tremendous on our economy," he declared.
Kelley said boat sales are on record pace this year, local hotels and campgrounds are flourishing, and often at full capacity. He said Pulaski County has outpaced the state average for tourism growth.
"If tourism is the fuel, our tank is full," Kelley concluded.
[Janie Slaven contributed to this article.]