A local property owner addressed the Harlan County Economic Development Authority during a meeting on Monday, requesting help in getting water and sewer lines run to property at Sukey Ridge in order to help attract business to the area.
Mark Miracle addressed the panel, mentioning first the previous county administration had stated they were going to put in a sewer line.
“The prior administration was going to put a sewer line,” Miracle said. “It didn’t get done for some reason.”
Miracle said he has contacted several companies about locating on the Sukey Ridge property, but so far none have done so because there is no sewer line to the property.
“That’s the first question they ask us, sewer and water,” Miracle said.
Miracle said there is a 4-inch water line available, but bigger companies require a 6-inch water line.
“The biggest issue is the sewer,” Miracle said.
According to Miracle, dozens of companies, including gas stations and medical facilities, have lost interest when they discovered there was no sewer line.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley asked Miracle how large the property was. Miracle stated it was approximately 15 acres.
“The original plan, the way I understand it, the prior administration had indicated they were going to run it up there and I think even indicated there was funding in place to do so,” said Mosley. “It never happened. The cost estimate to run it from the Loyall cutoff to the site and cover the households in that community is like $800,000.”
Mosley said last year the fiscal court ranked a project at Wallins as top priority because sewer is required in order for the school system to build a new school.
“That project has been ongoing, it’s completely funded all the way to Sawbriar…and doesn’t have a lot further to go to get to the actual proposed Wallins school site,” Mosley said. “I asked the engineer about the possibility of instead of going from Loyall up Sukey Ridge, could he come back from the Dollar General towards your site because it would be a shorter distance span.”
Mosley said running the line up from the Dollar General would also require a smaller pump station than the option of coming from Loyall.
“He said it could be done, and it would be more cost efficient to do that,” said Mosley. “Of course the priority of the court is that Wallins project and getting it to that school site. But beyond that, I’m not aware of their being a number two or number three or number four.”
Mosley asked Miracle if it would be possible to get a letter of commitment from an entity concerning locating on the property. Miracle said he could.
“If you can get us some type of letter of commitment from some type of business or organization that would be interested in locating there, then in one of our future meetings – after we’ve received that letter – we’ll discuss as a board some type of resolution asking the fiscal court to consider that to be one of their priority projects,” said Authority member Pete Cornett. “We’re willing to help, if you’re willing to do a little bit of the ground work.”
Mosley offered to attend meetings with potential businesses with Miracle.
“The problem in Harlan County, and I think we all recognize it, is we don’t have 15 acres of flat land anywhere,” said Mosley. “We don’t have two acres of flat land to use to do economic developments. In my opinion, this is one of the best sites that we’ve got here for development. Once that Wallins school site sewer delivery is in place, to me, that’s priority two. That might make some people mad out there that want sewer in other places, but from the standpoint of potential development, I think that’s the best site.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde