The Harlan County Economic Development Authority heard an update on a variety of topics during a meeting on Tuesday.
Shortly after the meeting was called to order, Harlan County Economic Development Director Larry Calhoun addressed developments concerning properties in Putney and Cumberland.
“Let me begin with the Putney property,” Calhoun said. “As you know, the county bought the building for approximately $309,000. This group at our last meeting approved a rent schedule based on job creation. Some interesting things have occurred since then.”
Calhoun called on Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley to bring the group up to speed concerning leasing the property to Kitts Creek Forestry Products.
“We had already looked over that rent schedule…and had proposed a short-term deal if someone was looking to move in and wanted to acquire the facility,” Mosley said. “We have been in discussions for a short-term deal similar to what the rent schedule was at the Coldiron property.”
Mosley said he spoke with representatives from Kitts Creek Forestry Products about the Putney facility. He added the company has expressed interest in possibly acquiring the building at some point in the future.
“We felt like mirroring the rent being paid at the Coldiron facility at this location for a short-term, three to six-month period would be fair,” Mosley said. “It also shows our commitment to what they’re doing. They started out with three jobs and they’re up to 22. They’re looking at growing, adding another product line and potentially creating more jobs.”
Mosley explained the fiscal court had approved a short-term, six-month lease at a meeting on Feb. 21.
“If they do express intent to acquire it, we will have to go through the surplus of the building,” Mosley said. “There has to be a surplus process, it has to be advertised and people have to have the opportunity to bid.”
Calhoun also talked about the possibility of a business park located in Cumberland.
“As you probably all know by now, we’re looking into developing the Sleepy Hollow Golf Course into a business park,” Calhoun said. “It would exclude any heavy industry…our target industries would include aviation, light manufacturing such as automobile parts, pharmaceutical companies and other entities.”
Chairman Pete Cornett mentioned there are no plans to close the golf course at this time.
“Just to clarify — I’ve had a few calls over the weekend about it — what we’re looking at is a study,” Mosley explained. “The engineering firm is going to propose what it would cost to determine what it would take to get that site build ready or to be able to house a building…there are no immediate plans to close the golf course.”
Mosley said they are hopeful the golf course may remain as an amenity to the business park.
“But if we had a user that wanted the whole thing to create 400 or 500 jobs, it’s an easy decision,” Mosley said.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde