Lynch eyes info center

By Joe P. Asher jasher@civitasmedia.com

August 26, 2014

The Harlan County Industrial Development Authority is checking into the possibility of aiding the city of Lynch in a project that may bring new jobs to the city.

Lynch Mayor John Adams, along with Cleon Cornett and Bobbie Gothard, appeared before the authority during a meeting on Thursday to ask for the authority’s assistance.

“We had a woman from Louisville, Betsy Shirley, who came in here on some missionary work,” said Adams. “She does a lot of contract work for different companies. She saw the need for jobs, especially in the Tri-Cities area. She came to me and asked if there was a suitable building that we could obtain for her or renovate that she could start a business in.”

According to Adams, Shirley is hoping to bring at least 50 jobs to Lynch as a start, and possibly expanding to as many as 200 jobs for the city in the future.

“I took her to the old ARH clinic in Lynch,” said Adams. “It’s been empty a good 10 years, probably more than that. She toured it … and said ‘this is what we need.’”

Adams told the authority Lynch had received a business plan and letter of intent from Shirley.

Our big holdup is the roof,” said Adams. “We’re cleaning up, but the moisture is still getting in. We need to dry it out.”

Adams said the building needs a new roof.

IDA Chairman Harry Gibson asked who owned the building. Adams told the authority the city of Lynch owns it.

Adams said Shirley plans to put in an information center to receive incoming calls.

“I know when you say call center you think about people trying to sell stuff, but that’s not her game,” said Adams.

According to Adams, the business would likely be geared more toward taking incoming calls concerning customer service issues.

Gibson said he would have to ask the state if there may be legal issues preventing the authority from helping because the IDA does not own the building.

Cornett suggested ownership of the building may be negotiable.

“I’m looking for the jobs, that’s all,” said Adams.

An authority member asked how much money it would take to get the job done.

“We have an architectural firm in Lexington…and of course they’ve got estimates,” said Cornett. “It bottoms out at around $200,000. That’s for the roof, the dehydration, getting out the mold, asbestos, etc.”

Gibson said he liked the idea, but he had to make sure the IDA is legally permitted to provide funds for such a project.

Adams, Cornett and Gothard provided the authority with information packages to aid in their decision.

“I know you’re not going to make a decision here, but I would just ask that you take the folders, look at the information in there and see what you think. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call,” said Cornett.

Gibson said the authority would research the issue and check with the state to see if the IDA can help with the project.

Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde