Kentucky Capital Development Corp. board members have a dilemma. The organization, which was created to bring industry and jobs to Franklin County, is running out of developable property.
“Our number one item in our strategic plan is to make sure we have enough land developed to create these jobs and do industrial development,” explained Terri Bradshaw, KCDC president and CEO, at Tuesday’s board meeting.
“We have literally 9 acres that is truly, at this moment, developable, has utilities to the property, is zoned properly and is for sale.”
That property, Bradshaw said, is located directly in front of the Hydra Warehouse on Georgetown Road.
The only other property in the county that is recognized as a future employment center in the comprehensive plan is located on Hanly Lane in eastern Franklin County, but it would need to be rezoned industrial. Bradshaw said the property owner has always intended for the land to be used as commercial or industrial.
She also mentioned property on Steadmantown Lane near Lakeview Park that is for sale but would require a zoning change. However, she continued, there are 150 houses adjacent to the property and several thousand in Indian Hills across the street — in case it isn't recognized in the Comprehensive Plan as a future employment center.
“Even if we find industrial property that’s available, we don’t have any money to develop it,” she added.
Bradshaw said Franklin County resident Chris Schimmoeller suggested that KCDC look for city properties to develop, including at Century Plaza on U.S. 127 South; Leawood Drive; Holmes Street; the riverfront; the old Sears building; Schenkel Lane; and near Peaks Mill Elementary School.
“I’m not sure. If we couldn’t get a piece of property approved that had six Franklin County residents next to it, we’re not going to get these properties in the city,” Bradshaw said, referring to the Franklin County Fiscal Court’s recent decision denying the rezoning of property on Duncan Road from agricultural to industrial.
Zachary Horn, KCDC treasurer, said the organization would be “crazy” to even buy one of the properties without a contingency in the purchase agreement stating the sale is subject to a zoning change prior to closing.
“I don’t know many sellers that are willing to do that, but we can’t take the risk of buying a piece of property that’s a prospective industrial site when we have no assurance we’ll be able to get a zone change,” he told the board.
“I probably shouldn’t say this as it's on Facebook Live and is a public meeting, but who would want to do any industrial development in Franklin County?”
Because of the lack of industrial property and an increased need for jobs in the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bradshaw recommended updating the organization’s strategic plan.
"The fact of the matter is we're just retaining what we've got," Horn said, stressing the importance of supporting the county's existing industry.
According to Bradshaw, KCDC needs to do a better job of informing the community about the importance of industry.
“It doesn’t matter what our goals are if the city and county don’t support what we do,” Bradshaw added.
She said at some point the KCDC board will have to meet with elected leaders to see what their intentions and goals are.
“We hear, ‘I want to do economic development,’ but then they don’t fund us. They don’t fund DFI (Downtown Frankfort Inc.). They don’t approve the zone change. They are questioning the TIF (Tax Increment Financing for Parcels B and C development) and its appropriateness.”
Bradshaw said the city and county, which are equal KCDC partners, need to direct the organization toward the kind of development they want so that KCDC can concentrate on that.
“They all have to want the same thing. We can’t have two different strategies for development here,” she added.