Are you tired of seeing other counties prosper while Harlan County is dying a slow death? Are you a victim of unemployment? Are you wondering when things will get better in Harlan County? Are you tired of waiting for the government to do something to bail us out? Are you wondering if anyone is doing anything to address our economic situation? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then ONE Harlan County, a new 501 ( c ) 3 tax-deductible organization is for you!
Local business leaders and concerned citizens have been meeting for several months to create the framework for ONE Harlan County, a group wholly dedicated to economic development in Harlan County. Joe Grossman, CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospitals, has taken the lead in helping Harlan Countians to take ownership of what is happening in our community and to turn the economy around by using a completely new approach. Patterned after One East Kentucky, a regional economic development initiative, ONE Harlan County, is soliciting funds from corporations, private businesses and concerned citizens to hire a full-time economic developer for our county. Acknowledging that we do not have the answers to our economic problems and recognizing that there are economic development professionals who can help us to find the answers, ONE Harlan County is working diligently to address the economic issues of Harlan County.
Concerned citizens from around the county have attended the organizational meetings thus far and the time has come to enlist the help of all Harlan Countians. ONE Harlan County has a five-year goal of raising $1 million. The annual budget of $200,000 will cover the cost of hiring an economic developer, travel and visits to recruit businesses, attendance at economic development conferences and office expenses.
In addition to recruiting new businesses and positioning Harlan County to compete in a new industrial sector, ONE Harlan County is interested in helping local businesses to expand and in supporting entrepreneurship amongst our own people.
The cost of membership in ONE Harlan County is $1, 000 per year which entitles a business or citizen to have a single vote within the organization. While it is understood that many local businesses, civic groups, and individuals may not be able to afford the full $1000, we are encouraging people to work together and to combine funds with other business-owners, civic groups, or private individuals to purchase a membership.
ARH Hospitals has committed $20,000 per year plus office space and utilities for ONE Harlan County. As the county’s largest employer, Harlan ARH Hospital has taken the lead in helping us to help ourselves. As we solicit funds from outside corporations, we must show a commitment from our own people towards making Harlan County a better place to live.
Regardless of whether or not you can contribute financially, ONE Harlan County is interested in your ideas, your talents, and your excitement about the future of Harlan County. Meetings are open to the public and your attendance is greatly appreciated. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. in the Harlan ARH Hospital conference room. Membership is required in order to vote during the meetings. Additional community meetings will be held on Monday nights and will be announced on the radio and on the Facebook page.
ONE Harlan County is asking you to support their mission. When asked why you should donate to this group the answer is “We know what the result is going to be if we do nothing. Isn’t it better to invest in our future even though it may hurt a little at first? “
If you would like to know more about ONE Harlan County, you can contact Roger Fannin at Kentucky Farm Bureau, Donell Busroe at Donell’s Pharmacy, Steve Tolliver at The Bank of Harlan or Donnie Fields and Flo Asher at Harlan ARH Hospital.