A group now working for economic development in the county is calling themselves “One Harlan.” Harlan Mayor Danny Howard and council member Annie Fox discussed meeting with the group at a recent meeting of the Harlan City Council.
“ARH Hospital is spearheading the project,” said Howard. “I think the thing about this that will make it work is they are making sure the locals have skin in the game. Not only are they taking the money that ARH is putting up, but also there is local money being put up. They are putting together a commitment of at least four years and to hire a director that will work on economic development. I was really impressed and given a lot of hope for the folks that were there — the folks that came to the table and that are willing to help and work. That makes us not only responsible to the individual government, but to the people that are willing to contribute. It’s a win-win situation. As a matter of fact, when we left I got on the phone and got some nice promises. The people I talked with were excited about it — liked the idea. They were pleased with the way the organization was working and what the intent is.”
Fox said this “committee or this group” is on board and will work in tandem with the economic alliance that the county is putting together, not supplanting anything.”
“It’s a movement driven by the private sector not the public sector,” said Fox. “So, it is not going to be beholden to the political pressures and agendas. It’s local businesses putting up money that want to stay in business. It has to be good for business and good for Harlan and they will work with other entities. It’s not a supplanting of any other economic opportunity, it’s something to work in tandem. It’s a unique and different kind of thing. Like we said, if you have some skin in the game, then maybe it will work.”
The council heard complaints about a county school bus being parked on Central Street taking up three parking spaces close to the library and businesses.
“We have a bus driver that lives in the apartments on Third Street and he is parking his bus on Central Street,” said Howard. “We have offered him the opportunity of parking the bus in the city parking lot where it will be watched by the city police department, but he has refused that offer.”
After a brief discussion, Howard asked Police Chief Mike Thomas to contact the transportation director at the Harlan County Board of Education and discuss the matter. Thomas agreed to do that. Howard said if a solution can’t be reached the council may have to revisit their parking ordinance to make changes regarding buses parking on the streets of Harlan.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde