Hancock County Industrial Foundation Director Mike Baker told Fiscal Court Monday the site of the former Kenneth C. Coleman Generating Station has already received at least three inquiries at the state level regarding potential development, though the site is still at least a year away from being ready for reimagined use.
The site was shuttered in 2014 by Big Rivers Electric following the loss of its largest customers, and the stacks at the plant were felled in late March by Complete Demolition Services of Louisville.
The 730-acre site is a prime industrial development site as it has rail access, utilities access, and a river port on site.
Baker told magistrates workforce development issues remain a problem for regional employers, with one Hancock facility human resources manager telling him three prospective employees resigned from their positions recently … during orientation.
“Unemployment remains at historic lows not only here at home but also in surrounding counties,” Baker said. “We are getting interest in Hancock County, and the Lewisport Industrial Park is gaining some interest. The problem is the availability of workers and the soft skills workers need to be successful.”
Baker said Hancock County Schools is committed, along with Owensboro Community College, in preparing local students to enter directly into the industrial workforce after high school, and he believes those efforts will pay off in the future.
As well, Baker pointed out recent statements by Governor Andy Beshear in which the state’s executive pointed out while the average annual economic announcements in the state average $5-7 billion, announcements thus far in 2022 total $11 billion in investment.
This year’s announcements are highlighted by 2,000 jobs in Bowling Green to manufacture power cells for electric vehicles, representing an investment of $2 billion. That follows closely on an announcement by Ford Motor Company that it will build twin battery manufacturing plants in Glendale, eventually employing 7,000 workers.
In other business, Fiscal Court:
- Adopted resolutions accepting state Road Aid and flex funds to be used on roads and highways in the county. The Road Aid funding is in the amount of $768,380. A portion of the flex funds will used to resurface the portion of Kentucky 1389 from U.S. 60 to near the Hancock County Library, a distance of about .7 mile.
- Approved proclamations for National Police Week and National EMS Week.
- Accepted the Sheriff’s Tax Settlement for 2021 on mineral and franchise taxes.
• Heard the financial report. The county’s General Fund stood at $5.05 million at the end of April, compared to $4.35 million a year ago.
By C. Josh Givens