Officials unveil SPEDA Commerce Park sign

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SPEDA officials unveil new industrial park sign. From left are Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck, Somerset City Councilor Jerry Wheeldon, Pulaski County Magistrate Jason Turpen, SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler and Pulaski County Magistrate Jimmy Wheeldon.

The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) unveiled July 14 the sign --SPEDA Commerce Park -- at the community's newest industrial park.

The 142-acre property, formerly known as the Garner Property in the Pine Hill and Barnesburg Road area, is adjacent to East Ky. 80. This farmland offers potential industrial prospects attractive four-lane road access that will be enhanced by the construction of two interchanges at the Ky. 80 and Ky. 461 intersection. The $69 million road project, which will relieve congestion at nearby Valley Oak Commerce Complex, is expected to begin in September.

SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said he has received several responses to a request for proposal from engineering and construction firms interested in the planning, design and development of the park. The RFP deadline was July 10 -- an internal panel will review submitted bids, and SPEDA's board of directors will vote at an upcoming meeting on the best option, Girdler said.

Girdler said work will begin on the park in the next few months, with a major tenant announcement expected at the end of July.

SPEDA purchased the property from Pulaski County Fiscal Court in March for just less than $1.19 million -- the same price the county purchased it for last year. The county purchased the property to give SPEDA, then a new city-county partnership, time to establish itself as an organization.

"We are excited to take another step forward today in making SPEDA Commerce Park a reality," Girdler said. "As we begin our first phase of development, we are aggressively seeking grant opportunities while also moving swiftly to develop the land so the community can offer certified, build-ready sites for future prospects. We're grateful for Pulaski County Government's help in purchasing this property and look forward to working with both the county and the City of Somerset to make it a park that fuels economic development in our community."

Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said SPEDA Commerce Park is a "great victory" for Pulaski County.

"It has been a vision of the fiscal court since 2016 to find a new property to purchase and develop for industrial use," Kelley said. "The creation of SPEDA to stimulate economic growth in our county was also our vision. This effort is the fruit of collaboration among city, county and our strong arm of economic development, SPEDA. For the last decade, there has been a 'we-versus-they' mentality among city and county leaders. Our accomplishment today shows that not only can we work together, but that we are working together. And all of Pulaski County will reap the benefits for decades to come."

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck echoed Kelley's excitement for what the industrial park will bring to the community.

"SPEDA continues to move our economic development efforts in Somerset and Pulaski County forward," Keck said. "SPEDA Commerce Park is another positive step as we help create living-wage career opportunities for our great people."

The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority is a city-county partnership that serves as an umbrella for workforce development, tourism, entrepreneurship and industrial recruitment with the goal of elevating the function and visibility of economic development in the community. To learn more about this effort, visit somersetkyleads.com.

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