SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler (left) talks with Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield during Tuesday's meeting of Pulaski Fiscal Court.

Emerging from a 45-minute executive session, Pulaski County Fiscal Court voted Tuesday to sell SPEDA the property the county purchased last fall to develop a new industrial park.

The "Garner property" is142 acres off East Ky. 80 in the vicinity of Pine Hill and Barnesburg roads. Pulaski County Fiscal Court first voted to purchase the property last May as part of a $5.6 million bond issue which also included funding for the $5 million "community match" for the construction of two interchanges to relieve the Ky. 80-Ky. 461-Valley Oak Commerce Complex bottleneck. Construction on that $69 million project is expected to begin no later than this September.

Comprised of undeveloped farmland, the Garner property was initially going to be purchased by the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation (SPCDF) until it was dissolved in favor of SPEDA (Somerset Pulaski Economic Development Authority). The option to buy was transferred to the county on SPEDA's behalf. With the new economic agency now celebrating its first year in the books, the time was right to transfer the property back for economic development. SPEDA's board of directors had already voted to move forward with the purchase in December.

Fiscal Court approved a motion from District 4 Magistrate Mark Ranshaw and seconded by District 1 Magistrate Jason Turpen to sell the proposed industrial park site at the same price the county purchased it (approximately $1.19 million). If possible, the purchase funds will be used to reduce the county's bond principal. In the alternative, the funds will be placed in an account specifically earmarked for making the bond payments.

"The sale of the Garner property to SPEDA is a great victory for Pulaski County," Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said. "It has been a vision of the Fiscal Court since 2016 to find a new property to purchase and develop for industrial use. The creation of SPEDA to stimulate economic growth in our county was also our vision. This sale today is the fruit of collaboration among the City, County, and our strong arm of economic development, SPEDA."

The judge added that development of the property should begin as soon as weather permits.

"For the last decade, there has been a 'we versus they' mentality among city and county leaders," Judge Kelley continued. "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.…I thank the Fiscal Court and the City Council, as well as Mayor (Alan) Keck, for supporting our collaborative efforts to make Pulaski a better place for all of us."

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