Earlier this year Big Rivers Electric started to dismantle the Kenneth G. Coleman power station outside of Hawesville. When the project finishes next summer, Hancock County gains a prime riverside industrial site ripe for development.
“What makes it so attractive is it is basically a shovel-ready site,” Hancock County Industrial Foundation Director Mike Baker said. “In today’s economic development climate, that is what they (industrial prospects) are looking for.”
According to Jennifer Keach, Big Rivers’ Director of Communications and Community Relations, the Coleman property outside of Hawesville contains 729 acres. She also said the company does not plan to utilize the property for any company projects.
The property sits alongside the Ohio River west of Hawesville, and contains a working barge terminal, certified truck scales and all of the other amenities industrial prospects want in a site on which to locate a factory, Baker said.
“We are real excited about the possibilities,” Baker said.
In addition, the site contains good roads to the site, an excellent ingress/egress drive and rail access. Baker said industrial prospects want to build quickly, and want infrastructure already existing on a site.
Keach said Big Rivers expects to complete the dismantling of the Coleman Station by June of 2022. She said the company plans to perform the work in stages, with disassembling the existing scrubber at the plant as one of the first stages of the work. The company plans to relocate the scrubber to the Wilson Station in Centertown, KY.
“That is scheduled to be completed by mid-August,” Keach said.
Keach said Big Rivers needed to acquire government approval before dismantling the power plant. She said the company decided to dismantle the plant because it was simply more economical to take it down rather than leaving the facility intact and maintaining it. “Dismantling also eliminates any safety concerns for the community,” Keach said.
Baker said the Hancock County Industrial Foundation and Big Rivers continue to engage in discussions on how to market the property. Keach said Big Rivers also started discussions with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development on how to best market this property to attract new industry to the county.
The addition of the Coleman property gives Hancock County another piece of prime real estate along the Ohio River for interested industrial prospects.
“River sites are somewhat scarce in the state of Kentucky,” Baker said. “We are fortunate that we have a couple of different alternatives.”
With the Coleman property available for development, Hancock County contains four large tracts of property along the Ohio River for possible economic development. Property exists in the Skillman Bottoms area of Hancock County, and it contains access to the Ohio River, Baker said.
“While it is not an active site, it has possibilities,” Baker said. “That site could be used for a potential manufacturer.”
Baker also mentioned the old Alcoa building west of Hawesville. While a company purchased the building a couple of years ago and started to refurbish the building, at this time it remains unoccupied.
In addition, a large tract of land exists east of Lewisport for possible development, Baker said.
“While we do not have it as a formal site right now, we do have potential opportunities on the river east of Lewisport,” Baker said.
Add the Coleman Station property to the list of potential sites.
“It is a sizeable location,” Baker said.
By Ralph Dickerson