LG&E KU awards grant to industrial authority

Published 10:43 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

It was a busy start to the week for the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority (WCCIDA) at their office on South Main Street on Monday morning.

A $100,000 grant was written by LG&E & KU Energy to the WCCIDA with the idea of expanding opportunities.

“We’re just excited that LG&E & KU Energy is here. We’re excited that they have offered to help Winchester and Clark County with their product development,” said Brad Sowden, Executive Director of WCCIDA. “We couldn’t be more appreciative than we are, and we just want LG&E and KU to know how much we appreciate their involvement and their support in what we’re trying to do here.”

Email newsletter signup

Specifically, the grant is the Opportunity Kentucky Grant, described on LG&E & KU’s website as being“designed to mitigate site inventory challenges via strategic investment to enhance quantity and quality of product, to address lack of capital in the market, and to encourage collaboration among Kentucky economic developers and stakeholders.”

The industrial park along Rolling Hills Lane has a 70-acre tract, with a short line rail along its southern boundary associated with RJ Corman.

Because it borders the area, this 70-acre tract of land is commonly referred to as the rail site, while additional acreage is available elsewhere.

The grant will help with business development.

“These types of grants help us offset the cost to create more product, which hopefully will recruit more investment in our community and create more jobs for the people that live here,” Sowden said.

Theoretically, this would offer further opportunities in Winchester.

The grant also helps account for differences due to economic challenges beyond Clark County.

“It’s going to help us because when we went through the bidding process to determine what it would cost to develop that site, we came up with a figure of “x,” Sowden said. “With inflation and everything else that’s come about, ‘x’ is turned into ‘y’.”

According to Susan Emery, the Economic Development Project Manager for LG&E & KU Energy, the funding will improve the area aesthetically, especially regarding the slope condition along the area.

“This is a 70-acre real serve site that’s very attractive on its own,” Emery said. “This funding is going to help regrade the site to improve that slope and make that site more marketable for industrial development.”

According to Emery, the most rewarding facet is seeing local growth.

“When we see new business or business expansion come to the area and increase economic development opportunities and new jobs, that is a win-win [situation] for Kentucky and for us,” she said.

Daniel Lowry, Media Relations Manager for LG&E & KU Energy, concurs.

“That’s what it’s all about, really, is helping grow the economy,” he added.