State Provides $500,000 Grant to Support Site Upgrades, Economic Growth in Berea
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky continues to invest in site and building development across the commonwealth, as today, Governor Andy Beshear announced a $500,000 state grant, paired with a local match from the Berea Industrial Development Authority to provide $1 million in upgrades at the Mayde Road Industrial Park in Madison County.
“Site and building development are at the center of our efforts statewide to create a foundation for continued economic growth well into the future,” Gov. Beshear said. “This investment in Berea’s Mayde Road Industrial Park is the latest example of the willingness of local and state leaders to work together to move our state forward. These upgrades will provide yet another incredible option for a growing business to locate and create jobs for Kentuckians.”
The investment through the state’s pilot PDI program will accommodate a pre-engineered 150,000-square-foot, pad-ready site and will allow work to begin on road infrastructure, utility extensions and tree clearing on a 35-acre parcel in the 87-acre industrial park. As growing companies consistently search for property and buildings approximately 100,000 square feet or larger, this site will provide the latest option for a prospective company to quickly locate in Central Kentucky while mitigating risks associated with the construction process.
The pilot PDI program was created in partnership between the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED). KAED President and CEO Haley McCoy said the program has been impactful for communities across the state.
“The work at Mayde Road Industrial Park is a wonderful project for Berea, Madison County and Kentucky,” McCoy said. “It is yet another example of the impact of the PDI program and what can be done through stakeholder collaboration. We at KAED look forward to working with Site Selection Group and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development as part of the PDI. We thank our PDI sponsors for their support of this impactful program.”
Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley said the investment will help position the community to land a significant employer in the near future.
“The City of Berea and the Berea Industrial Development Authority are very grateful for the funding provided by the Kentucky Economic Development Fund and for all the support from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development as we went through the PDI grant process. This is a great example of the commonwealth partnering with local communities to help bring projects to life which would not have happened otherwise,” Mayor Fraley said. “This joint investment will allow us to begin development of a 35-acre parcel that is well positioned to I-75 and connected to our existing industrial park. With the rapidly increasing cost of construction, this grant will bring an undeveloped site to life, which will ultimately employ citizens of Berea and those in surrounding areas. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in concert with the Cabinet for Economic Development in making Kentucky more attractive to prospective business and industry. This investment should make us all very optimistic for our collective future.”
Lucas Witt, co-founder and partner at MWM Consulting, which assists the City of Berea through economic development initiatives, noted the partnerships required to make the investment possible.
“At MWM Consulting, our No. 1 goal with community clients is to put them in a better position than they were before our work started. It is safe to say that goal has been accomplished with this PDI announcement for the City of Berea,” Witt said. “Berea has been a long-term client of ours, and through Mayor Fraley’s leadership, their economic development opportunities have reached record levels. It has been our honor to have assisted Berea through these opportunities, specifically as it relates to the PDI announcement today. Lastly, I would like to thank the Cabinet for Economic Development, KAED and Site Selection Group for their continued efforts on propping up the PDI program. As our company works across the state, we have seen firsthand the need for reinvestments into sites and buildings. The PDI program has and will continue to fill a much-needed role in positioning Kentucky for success.”
Formed in 2019, the pilot PDI program boosts the commonwealth’s ability to attract a diverse base of businesses of every size. This adds to the state’s numerous other advantages, including its ideal geographic location with its borders within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population, among the lowest industrial electric costs in the nation and a skilled workforce ready to meet the needs of any company.
The site investment in Madison County furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In the past year, the Beshear administration 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. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision 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.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Kentucky has posted new record low unemployment rates for three consecutive months, falling from 3.9% in April to 3.8% in May and 3.7% in June.
In July, the Governor reported the highest annual growth rate in 31 years. And for the second year in a row, Kentucky’s General Fund budget surplus has exceeded $1 billion. Also in July, Gov. Beshear reported that the state’s Rainy Day fund is up to a record balance of $2.7 billion, significantly higher than the $129 million balance the fund had when the Governor took office.
To encourage future investment and location of an economic development project, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in June approved a grant agreement with the City of Berea under the Economic Development Fund program. The grant agreement may provide up to $500,000 in funding on a reimbursement basis based on the project investment of $1 million.
The commonwealth recently unveiled the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI), which builds on the foundation set by the pilot PDI program. The newly established statewide effort supports upgrades of industrial sites and buildings throughout Kentucky to further economic growth and job creation.