SPEDA may meeting

On Thursday, SPEDA hosted it's first board meeting in several months, having canceled its March and April gatherings. The board named the new industrial complex the SPEDA Commerce Park.

The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) held its May meeting after a two-month break due to COVID-19 pandemic, with business ranging from naming the new industrial park to announcing several upcoming community projects – including a plan to launch two live webcam feeds on the SPEDA website.

The two items voted on concerned what has up until now been called the “Garner Property,” a piece of land located at the intersection of East Ky. 80 and Pine Hill Road in the Shopville area.

From here on out, however, it will be known as the SPEDA Commerce Park.

The 190-acre property was bought by Pulaski County government back in June of last year.

SPEDA CEO and President Chris Girdler said that the economic organization is preparing to take over the property by the end of next week, adding that the process to transfer the land into SPEDA’s name was delayed by the closures and slowdowns face by government due to COVID-19.

Choosing a name for the newly planned industrial area took up the majority of SPEDA’s meeting, as board members wanted to come up with the best, most marketable name.

“In order to start using marketing materials, grant applications, things of that nature, we really feel like we need to put a name on this park and make it official,” Girdler said.

The board also voted in favor of advertising for bids for the initial development of the SPEDA Commerce Park – preparing to start “moving dirt,” as Somerset Mayor Alan Keck put it.

Board members and Girdler also discusses several upcoming projects, including placing two live webcams up so visitors to SPEDA’s website can watch in real time events taking place around the Fountain Square in Somerset and a section of Lake Cumberland.

Girdler said further details would be announced in late May or early June, but plans were to have one camera mounted to the top of the former First and Farmers building – now known as Hemisphere Limited LLC owned by Demetrios Haseotes.

The camera will look out over the fountain, pointing toward the old Masonic Building on the other side of the square from Hemisphere Limited.

A second camera will be mounted on top of the city of Somerset’s water intake at Waitsboro, near the Waitsboro boat ramp, and will pick up boating traffic along that bend of the lake.

Both cams will be viewed through SPEDA’s website.

Another community project for which more plans will be announced later is the creation of another mural in the downtown area, a collaboration among SPEDA, Norfolk Southern and Burnett Farms.

The work would celebrate the arts, agriculture and the city’s locomotive history, and is to be commissioned from Jordan Justice, the same artist responsible for the mural on the side of the Somerset-Pulaski Chamber of Commerce building.

Girdler said it will complement the new Farmers Market building being constructed across the street from the Energy Center.

While COVID-19 has affected many of the area’s local businesses and workers, with plans to start reopening businesses in the coming weeks, SPEDA plans to do its part by donating masks to at least seven local day care centers.

Girdler said this would give those day cares some much needed personal protective equipment to use whenever centers are allowed to open back up.

“We’re very excited and grateful to be in a position to help the day care centers,” Girdler said. “This will help give parents the piece of mind. Whether your a single parent home or a home where both parents are working, this is very important.”

Masks will start to be passed out on Monday.

Girdler added that along with every set of 100 masks, centers will be given two large bottles of hand sanitizer made by the Beam Suntory Bourbon Distillery, courtesy of State Senator Rick Girdler, who obtained them.

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