FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 29, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced over $2.5 million in state funding to develop land and buildings to support economic growth and good-paying jobs across eight sites in 11 counties.
Projects in Logan, Washington, Henderson, Caldwell, Trigg and Nicholas counties, as well as a regional project including Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon and Trigg counties, were approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA).
“Site and building development are crucial parts of positioning Kentucky for economic success and capitalizing on the momentum we’ve seen over the past two-and-a-half years,” said Gov. Beshear. “With these funds communities can have quality sites ready for companies to move to and plant their roots. I’m excited to announce this fourth wave of funding, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these sites.”
The state funding comes from the Kentucky Product Development Initiative program which was established in 2022. To date, 30 site and building development projects statewide have been approved for approximately $17 million in state funding.
The Henderson County Fiscal Court, on behalf of the West Kentucky Regional Industrial Development Authority Inc., will complete a site grading plan with an approximate 1-million-square-foot building pad at the Sandy Lee Watkins site. The $1.4 million project was approved for $700,000 in state funding through the program.
The Logan County Fiscal Court, on behalf of the City of Russellville, is providing an upgrade to a lift station to attract new industry. The $1.85 million project was identified by an independent site selection consultant and was approved for nearly $666,800 in state support.
The Lyon County Fiscal Court, on behalf of Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon and Trigg counties, has submitted a regional project to conduct a floodplain analysis at the Pennyrile Westpark Industrial Park, with the beneficiary being Pennyrile Westpark Industrial Development Authority. The more than $69,000 regional project was approved for nearly $35,000 in state funding.
The Nicholas County Fiscal Court, on behalf of the Bourbon County-Nicholas County Joint Economic Development Board will acquire the Finfrock property to begin engineering and site improvements. The over $1.35 million project was approved for more than $675,000 in state funding.
The Trigg County Fiscal Court, in partnership with the Cadiz-Trigg County Industrial Development Authority Inc., has plans to construct a new wastewater pump station at the Interstate-24 Business Park. The $450,000 project was approved for $225,000 in state support during today’s KEDFA meeting.
The Washington County Fiscal Court, on behalf of the Springfield/Washington County Economic Development Authority, Inc., was approved for $200,000 in state funds split across two sites in the Washington County Commerce Center. The projects will combine to see $400,000 in investment for the improvement and preparation of the sites.
The City of Princeton has partnered with the Princeton-Caldwell County Industrial Development Authority to undertake a project to conduct an in-depth analysis of the karst topography located at the Princeton Industrial Park. The over $84,500 project was approved today for more than $42,000 in state support.
Haley McCoy, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association for Economic Development showed her excitement for the continued site and development projects: “We are excited to see these counties being approved for funding through the Kentucky Product Development Initiative program. We are especially thrilled to celebrate the regional project in Western Kentucky resulting from intentional collaboration among five counties. This growth is not possible without leadership and support from the General Assembly and the Governor, as well as investments from Atmos Energy, Big Rivers Electric, Duke Energy, Kentucky Power, LG&E and KU, TVA, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives/EKPC and Louisville Water to provide independent third-party site selection consulting to evaluate the projects. Our association celebrates the true teamwork that is propelling Kentucky forward.”
In March, Gov. Beshear announced the first approvals in the initial round of Kentucky Product Development Initiative program, rolling out over $2.7 million in state funding for site and building development projects in Laurel and Madison counties, as well as a regional project between Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence counties. In April, over $4.6 million was approved for eight site and development projects in Adair, Allen, Breckinridge, Johnson, Rowan, Russell and Simpson counties, as well as a regional project in Bell, Knox and Whitley counties.
In May, Gov. Beshear highlighted the approval of 11 more site and development projects, awarding nearly $7 million in state support for projects in Barren, Fayette, Green, Hickman, Jackson, Jessamine, LaRue, McCreary, Todd, Wayne and Woodford counties. Gov. Beshear previously announced 54 site and building development projects are requesting nearly $34 million in state funds during the first round of program.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development continues to review each project for a recommendation of approval in the coming months.
Kentucky Product Development Initiative program was established last year after Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly approved $100 million in funding during the regular 2022 session.
Applications are first evaluated by an independent consultant based upon all facets a prospective company would consider, from workforce availability, access to all infrastructure and detailed information on costs associated with development. In turn, these projects will generate increased economic development opportunities and job creation for Kentucky residents. Kentucky Product Development Initiative program furthers the efforts of the pilot Product Development Initiative program, which provided nearly $7 million in state funding for 20 site and building development projects statewide.
Investment in site development throughout Kentucky furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Gov. Beshear announced there are more than 2 million jobs filled in Kentucky – the most in state history – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its federal survey of business establishments. And the Governor highlighted that 57,000 new jobs have been filled since the beginning of his administration.
The Governor recently announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 860 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $26.8 billion in announced investments.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
For more information on KPDI, visit kpdi.ky.gov.