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Our View: New mill to benefit entire state

Adding more than 500 quality jobs in Eastern Kentucky may not seem like it has much impact here in the central part of the state but, make no mistake about it, this is a huge victory for the entire Commonwealth.

It was announced last week that Braidy Industries Inc. will build a state-of-art aluminum rolling mill in Greenup County near South Shore. In addition to those 550 positions that are expected to have an average annual salary of more than $70,000, this project will also create more than 1,000 construction jobs over the next several years.

Although it was of course somewhat tinted with political hyperbole when Gov. Matt Bevin said this has the potential to be “as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky,” he is on point that it will have a tremendous benefit for that region and the entire state as spin-off industries often look to locate near these types of manufacturing facilities.

At just less than two hours away, could Winchester and Clark County see direct benefit from this $1.3 billion investment? Maybe, but no one should discount the intangible effect.

Perhaps most important, this project adds significant credence to the narrative that Kentucky is truly open for business, ready to do what it takes to help industries come and succeed here.

That message is priceless.

Braidy CEO Craig Bouchard was very clear in saying that his company would not have chosen Kentucky if it had not become a right-to-work state. The developer also said they chose this particular location out of 24 cities in two states based on their belief that they can find “highly skilled, devoted employees.”

This should certainly encourage our county’s economic development leaders as we seek to attract business and industry of our own. Clark County has a similar workforce and continued investment in site infrastructure and training programs will help position us well. 

Real estate professionals are quick to point out that it is all about location, location, location. We believe Winchester has this asset in abundance as the community is very centrally located between key economic areas and has excellent interstate access for distribution of products across the country.

Braidy Industries choosing Kentucky was a victory for the entire state, one that could pay dividends here in the near future.