The Eddyville Industrial Park and the 641 Connect project were the topics of the day for the Lake Barkley Partnership Board of Directors Thursday.
The partnership is working on site development initiatives in each of the four counties it serves — Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon and Caldwell.
Executive Director Amanda Davenport and Chairman Tim Capps led the meeting.
“As a partnership, we work with our local governments and (industrial development authorities) to make sure it’s really easy for businesses to come in,” Davenport said. “One of the biggest challenges is having the space for a business to come in that isn’t a green field.”
Site development projects at industrial parks are designed to bring in both new, large-scale companies and stakeholders and cultivate small industrial growth that diversifies the parks’ portfolios. During the product development update, the spec building committee informed the board the industrial parks have a multitude of resources — including utility capacity, transportation infrastructure, industrial park size, environment challenges, topography and funding — primed for economic development.
During the Eddyville Industrial Park update, Davenport informed the board that the Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority is applying for a grant through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Kentucky Association for Economic Development Product Development Initiative.
The proposed configuration of the park includes an 80-acre rail serve site. Davenport explained the reconstruction of the park’s primary industrial road would allow for large semi-trucks and other traffic from U.S. 62 to enter the park, making it “a premier industrial park within Kentucky — there’s not many that are rail served.”
In an effort to promote the industrial potential and the rail access at the park, Davenport is targeting site selectors with marketing materials and outreach. Tree removal and site clearing are underway.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve seen happen as far as economic development in the county,” Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White added.
The board concluded with a discussion about the 641 Connect project, a two decade-long initiative.
Capps expressed excitement about the U.S. 641 project, saying “we look forward to someday the whole project being completed.”
Keith Todd, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said the window for public comment on the project is closed and announced a final design contract was awarded last week.
The final design component of the 641 Connect project is split into two phases, with two separate contracts. The final design process will take 12 to 14 months, “in fall of next year we would like to have a final set of plans at which time we could begin utility and right of way phases,” Todd said.
“Our hopes would be that in this next legislative budget session that we would obligate the right of way and utility phases of this project,” he added.
The final design introduced during the meeting on Thursday is KYTC’s final selection, confirming the advancement of the project.
Todd added KYTC has “exhausted numerous efforts” during the two-decade design process to prevent disruption to communities.
“I don’t know that I have ever seen what is perceived as a bypass, that convenient and that close to a downtown area in all my travels,” said Executive Committee member Chris Cook.
Some Fredonia and Caldwell County community members, and elected officials, oppose the project as it stands. They claim the design will be detrimental to the small community of Fredonia and Caldwell County.
Last Tuesday, Caldwell County Fiscal Court passed a resolution, dissenting against the project and providing alternatives.
Fredonia Mayor Jim Seibert recently said the design poses a water infrastructure risk causing severe damage to parts of town, among other concerns. Other board members and Todd agreed the final design appears to be seemingly innocuous and theorizes the project will develop Fredonia’s businesses and improve the city’s condition.