The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce kicked off its first Membership Luncheon for the New Year on Wednesday, welcoming mayors from the county’s three largest cities to reflect on 2021 and provide a glimpse of what’s to come.
One thing the three discussed in common was Ford’s $ 5.8 billion investment in Glendale, which comes with a promise of 5,000 new jobs in Hardin County.
“This will change our region forever,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory, also noting that the Kruger packaging plant in Elizabethtown which is currently under construction will create new jobs.
Gregory said the city plans to continue to reinvest in the community, particularly with the Ford plant on hold at the Glendale Industrial Megasite, which will house twin manufacturing plants spanning 1,500 acres and produce batteries for electric vehicles. Next Generation Ford and Lincoln.
“We’re going to have to continually reinvest in this community and we’re going to make sure that we not only cover the basics, but that we cover things that people would like to see that make people want to stay or move here,” he says. at the Pritchard Community Center.
Already, Elizabethtown sees the reflection of the Ford and Kruger plant in the form of recent growth. Construction projects at Elizabethtown for 2021 totaled $ 168 million, more than double the construction for 2020, which stood at around $ 82 million.
“The sky is the limit for Elizabethtown, and we will continually reinvest. This is the message I want you to know, ”said Gregory.
In Radcliff, Mayor JJ Duvall said they have around $ 23 million under construction and anticipate even greater growth. He said many brokers have contacted areas within an hour’s drive of the Glendale site.
“Jeff is 100% right… people are jealous of us in Hardin County. We are excited about what lies ahead, ”he said.
Vine Grove Mayor Pam Ogden said Vine Grove is small compared to Elizabethtown and Radcliff, but they are working and growing as well.
“I think we’re probably one of the better residential communities. With Nucor in County Meade and the new plant coming to Glendale, I think we’re in an ideal position to grow, ”she said.
The mayors also spoke about the struggles they have faced as a result of the pandemic. For 2021, cities remained cautious with their budgets because they did not know what was going to happen with the pandemic.
“We were worried about what our income was going to do. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We took a budget of about $ 75 million from the previous year and made $ 60 million, ”Gregory said of Elizabethtown. “We were hoping our income would rebound, but we didn’t know it. Come find out, they were what we hoped they would be and more.
Duvall said Radcliff was able to get out of debt and was set to purchase a fire engine at a cost of around $ 1.4 million in cash.
Additionally, Duvall mentioned Taylor Communications’ $ 18.8 million investment in Radcliff, expanding its manufacturing footprint in the city.
Ogden said his town has started working with investors on dilapidated houses, which has been a big challenge for the town, and will continue to work on town hall.
Jokingly, while searching towards Duvall, Ogden said Vine Grove had already bought a fire engine.
“And our budget is much smaller than theirs,” she said.
Additionally, Ogden said they continue to work with Rachel Ritchie, who built a playground in Optimist Park, to build a playground there as well.
“This is going to be huge for the community, an asset for Vine Grove,” she said.
Vine Grove has also formed an Economic Development Advisory Committee. A first for them, Ogden said.
Ogden said she, Duvall and Gregory all wanted the best for Hardin County.
“Everyone is very lucky to live in this county because you have incredible leadership going on here and we are moving forward,” she said.
Duvall said the three have a great relationship.
“We’ve cut a lot, but we do it because we all get along. We are all friends. This is important for you all to know because working together to build a strong community is what we are doing here in Hardin County and without it moving forward as a group, as a community, is not going to happen. not, ”he said.
Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1417 or [email protected]