Business park not a bust

-A A +A

To the editor:
I am responding to your article in the May 10 issue of The Cynthiana Democrat entitled, “Don’t start it unless you know you can finish it.” Your statement, “bad spending that has been done in the past and the lack of enthusiasm for correcting possible bad investments” is an incorrect assessment of the situation. I would like to reply for the record...
I’m asking you and your readers to consider this. Yes, it is true that the business park was bought in the late 1990’s for around $800,000. I was not on the Cynthiana/Harrison County Economic Development Board at that time, however, the people that were serving on this board felt it was absolutely necessary to buy and develop this land for future economic expansion. When trying to attract prospective businesses to a community, you must have a location for the clients to investigate for a potential purchase. This creates a dilemma for all communities. Do you invest in the future or sit idly by and do nothing in hopes you can catch up down the road? Fortunately, our past leadership was savvy enough to set the ball into motion. True, we only have one working business at present in the business park, however, we have sold a small tract to a business that will be locating in Cynthiana in the near future. We are currently working on another site with a potential client. Since I was appointed to the board in 2007, we have had several inquiries and meetings with company executives looking to relocate and/or build at the business park. Though most of these companies decided not relocated here, it is part of the never ending process. Everyone has been affected by a hard and unforeseen four year economic downturn, yet we still continue to seek business opportunities to fill this area with potential employers.
It is easy to look from the outside to the inside and criticize a process that you may not understand. Your EDA Board, City and County governments are and have always used discretion when spending valuable tax dollars from taxpayers. Together, we work with the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet Representatives to recruit companies for our business park. Under Governor Beshear’s Administration, this cabinet has been terribly under funded. This has resulted in the loss of many valuable allies from within. Presently, there are only three or four working representatives for the entire state of Kentucky. In addition, it is very hard to attract clients when our park is not directly tied to the interstate highway system. “Logistics” is the buzz word in business and with higher fuel costs, companies have been forced to look for shorter distances when relocating. Competition is very fierce amongst the other 119 Kentucky counties and 49 states as well.
We are working diligently to reduce the business park indebtedness. Since February, 2011, we have enacted a progressive payoff program and can proudly say that we have paid off more than $250,000 of debt and interest on the property. Through the cooperation with both the City and County governments, we can now lease this land to farmers for extra income for debt reduction purposes. As the Central Kentucky business climate improves, our chances to attract potential business clients will improve as well.
It is much better to live for our future than to pass judgment on our past. We would all like a fairy tale ending with several large employers offering higher paying jobs in our business park. If we continually move forward in the present direction, we will have the park debt paid off and will be in a better position to offer greater incentives to lure new employers in the future. Meanwhile, I can assure you and your readers that the Cynthiana/Harrison County EDA, City and County governments are always working for your interest and a better community.
Frazer D. LeBus III
Chairman, CHC/EDA