County updated on economic development

Published 9:16 am Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Harlan Fiscal Court heard an update concerning economic development in Harlan during a meeting on Tuesday.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley called on Harlan County Economic Development Director Larry Calhoun to bring the magistrates up to speed on the county’s progress.

“In the last three years, there have been about 400 jobs created,” Calhoun said. “One of the reasons for that — Teleworks — had started before I got here and that’s been a good employment base for us.”

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Calhoun added other businesses including J&L Coal, Kitts Creek Forestry Products and an addiction recovery facility have also added jobs.

“There are other jobs on the horizon,” Calhoun said.

He mentioned SEKRI has filled approximately 40 of 100 positions available.

“There are other companies too,” Calhoun said. “We’re on an upward trend, which is a good thing.”

Calhoun also talked about how the county is being marketed.

“We’ve been doing that through an aggressive advertisement program,” Calhoun explained.

Calhoun pointed out the county has been advertising in publications used by industry to locate business sites. He added the county has also been attempting to recruit retail businesses to open locations in Harlan.

“It’s not an immediate gratification situation,” Calhoun said. “You have to get your name out there and be redundant in order to draw these people, and our demographics have to match what they’re looking for.”

Calhoun also mentioned the website which is now up and running.

“It’s an interactive site where site selectors and CEOs can come in, put their name in, ask questions and get an immediate return phone call from me,” Calhoun said. “It outlines the positive things that are in this county.”

The magistrates also viewed a promotional video showcasing the county’s highpoints for attracting business.

Calhoun mentioned the renovations in progress at the Tucker-Guthrie Memorial Airport as well.

“The airport renovation is extremely important,” Calhoun said. “A lot of companies have planes for the corporate real estate managers and the CEOs. With the new terminal, hanger and runway expansion, that’s going to be a real boon for Harlan County. We’re still trying to get additional funds from other sources to do more at the airport.”

Calhoun noted airport and road improvements are important factors for the future success of Harlan County.

In other fiscal court activity:

• A purchase order modification between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Harlan County Detention Center for roadside inmate work crews was approved;

• An agreement with FEMA for a pilot program for debris removal was approved;

• Permission was granted to apply for a spay/neuter grant;

• The Harlan County Sheriff’s 2017 tax settlements for Gas, oil, limestone, sand and gravel were accepted, subject to audit.