The Harlan Fiscal Court is looking for proposals for the operation and management of the Benham Schoolhouse Inn.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley began the discussion during a meeting on Tuesday.
The Benham Inn, according to a previous report, has been operated by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College for some time, but the college is pulling out of the operations of the Inn at the end of June.
“What I’m proposing to do today on the Benham Schoolhouse Inn is to put out a request for proposals in an attempt to privatize the Benham Inn,” Mosley said.
Mosley then summarized the proposal to the court.
“Proposals should include a plan to lease and assume management and operations on July 1,” Mosley said.
According to Mosley, any proposal should include:
• The background of the company or investor with information about past company operations of lodging entities;
• A plan on how the Inn will operate including staffing, hours of operation, general pricing and plans of how to market the Inn;
• Financial commitment and term of lease proposed;
• Details on facility maintenance plan potential lessee would be responsible for if awarded lease;
• Details on liability insurance policy to be provided by lessee, lessor will provide property fire insurance;
• Any other pertinent information potential lessee feels needs to be in the proposal regarding the operation and management of the Benham Inn.
Mosley said the County will commit to maintaining HVAC, refrigeration and any issues involving the roof of the facility. All furnishings currently in use in the Inn will be available as part of a negotiated lease.
Proposals should be submitted to the Harlan Fiscal Court before the fiscal court meeting at 10 a.m. on April 19. Proposals will be read aloud at the meeting.
Proposals should be mailed to Harlan Fiscal Court, Attn: Benham Inn Proposal, P.O. Box 956, Harlan, Ky. 40831. Direct inquiries can be made to Mosley at 606-573-2600 or at [email protected]
“I think there may be some interest out there, perhaps locally and across the state,” Mosley said.
Magistrate David Kennedy asked if the proposal included the restaurant located at the Benham Inn.
“This includes the whole thing at this point,” Mosley said. “I think this is a way to gauge interest in the private sector. Government shouldn’t be in the hotel business, in my opinion.”
Kennedy expressed his approval of the idea.
“I would like to see a chain come in here — somebody that could advertise that place and actually put it on the map for us,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know of a bed and breakfast chain – but that would be wonderful – because that’s what that place could actually be. I hope we get some good response.”
A motion was passed with no opposition to publish the request for proposals and open the proposals at the next fiscal court meeting.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde