Governor highlights economic development, tornado relief and new leadership appointments
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 12, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on economic development, tornado relief and COVID-19, as well as new leadership appointments.
Economic Growth Continues in the Commonwealth
The Governor highlighted several economic development announcements from the week.
On Monday, Gov. Beshear announced that Flottweg Separation Technology Inc., a manufacturer of centrifuges and other liquid-solid separation equipment, has committed to invest $1.75 million and create 12 high-wage jobs with a new warehouse facility in Boone County. The expansion comes in response to rising demand and will accommodate increased parts manufacturing. This investment will support the construction of a new 15,000-square-foot warehouse facility on Flottweg’s existing campus, which is expected to be completed early in 2023.
On Tuesday, the Governor announced $230,000 in upgrades at the Hickory Industrial Park in Graves County, increasing the location’s appeal for companies considering new-location or expansion projects. The investment will include construction of a 150,000-square-foot, pre-graded building pad on 16 acres in the industrial park. The site will include truck drive access and support up to 200 parking spaces on 4.7 acres adjacent to the building pad. The pad will reduce the time to market for prospective companies and expedite the construction process.
On Wednesday, Gov. Beshear announced that the City of Bowling Green will implement upgrades at the Kentucky Transpark behind a $1 million investment, building on one of the fastest-growing industrial parks in Kentucky. The Inter-Modal Transportation Authority applied for $500,000 in funding on behalf of the city to extend utility service in the Kentucky Transpark to support its continued growth. This money will be used to extend utilities along Production Avenue, which will help bring over 600 acres of property to market, including the future homes of both Tyson Foods and Envision AESC, the 3 million-square-foot electric vehicle battery gigafactory that will create 2,000 new jobs in the community. The state funding accounts for half of the $1 million project cost with the rest funded locally.
Earlier today, the Governor congratulated Harbor Steel & Supply Corp., a distributor and manufacturer of fabricated products for the steel and aluminum industries, as company and local leadership broke ground on a new $8 million operation in Warren County creating 25 quality jobs for Kentuckians.
The Governor also announced over $2.3 million in funds and credits to assist with the training of over 13,600 Kentucky workers. Training funds and credits approved during this month’s Bluegrass State Skills Corporation meeting push the state’s support in fiscal year 2022 to over $8.4 million for 115 applicants throughout the state to train more than 35,400 workers, the most since 2016. Among this month’s approvals were funding and credits to support training of 6,700 employees at the Ford Truck Plant in Louisville, as well as more than 1,400 trainees at Logan Aluminum in Russellville and over 830 workers at Toyotetsu Mid America in Owensboro.
More than $3 Million in Additional SAFE Funds for Tornado Recovery
Gov. Beshear announced a third round of awards from the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (SAFE) fund. The more than $3 million in assistance announced today will go to 12 eligible Western Kentucky cities, counties and other entities to help with the costs of recovery from the devastating December 2021 tornadoes.
Today’s funding awards include more than $1.3 million for the Graves County Fiscal Court; $663,004 for Muhlenberg County; $340,210 for the Western Kentucky Electrical Co-op; $300,000 for the Caldwell County Fiscal Court; $154,840 for the Lyon County Fiscal Court; $142,786 for the Fulton County Fiscal Court; $70,096 for the City of Princeton; $23,297 for the City of Benton; $5,980 for the Christian County Fiscal Court; and $4,004 for the Ohio County Fiscal Court. The Hopkins County Health Department also received $12,212 and the Bowling Green Independent School District received $5,940.
The $3 million announced today will accommodate the 5.2% local share for FEMA-eligible expenses and will help cover the costs of some non-FEMA eligible storm debris removal.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced the award of more than $6.1 million to seven Western Kentucky recipients. On April 28, the governor announced $8.5 million in financial assistance to Hopkins County, the first county to receive SAFE funds.
Gov. Beshear recommended the appropriation for the SAFE fund, and the 2022 General Assembly supported the aid by passing Senate Bill 150, which the Governor signed into law April 15. The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management continues to receive additional applications for SAFE funding, which are being carefully reviewed to ensure the funds are used to their maximum benefit.
$16 Million for New Homes in Western Kentucky
Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on his announcement Tuesday that $16 million from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund will help provide up to 300 homes for families in 13 Western Kentucky counties.
Working with the state’s Public Protection Cabinet, which administers the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, nonprofit groups Habitat for Humanity, Homes and Hope for Kentucky and The Fuller Center for Housing submitted proposals to help build up to 100 homes each. Homes can be built in the counties that were eligible for individual and household assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor and Warren counties. All of the $16 million in funding comes from private donations to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.
Gov. Beshear said there was another slight increase in reported COVID-19 cases last week, but the counties in yellow dropped from four the previous week to three. He noted that hospitalizations remain low but cautioned that Kentucky is seeing an uptick in the positivity rate. The Governor encouraged unvaccinated Kentuckians to get vaccinated and for vaccinated Kentuckians to get boosted if they haven’t already.
New Leadership in Cabinet Posts
The Governor thanked Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown and interim Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes for their guidance and service to the commonwealth as he announced their retirements from state government.
State Budget Director John Hicks will take on the additional duties of executive cabinet secretary as he continues in his current role. Hicks has helped the Governor navigate the budget challenges brought on by the pandemic and is currently helping to distribute billions of dollars in federal relief aid. Under Hicks’ leadership, the Governor’s administration created the best budget in 20 years.
Taking up the mantle as secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development is Jeff Noel, the corporate vice president of communications and public affairs at Whirlpool Corp. who has served as the interim president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the last year.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
In recognition of their commitment to workplace safety, Gov. Beshear named the companies recognized at the Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition in Bowling Green on Tuesday as this week’s Team Kentucky All-stars.
Some of these companies include:
- Big Rivers Electric Corp., which the Governor recognized after four of their locations received a Governor’s Safety and Health Award and, combined, achieved more than 4 million man-hours worked without a lost-time incident;
- Hood Container of Louisville, whose employees had logged more than half-a-million hours on the job since February 2018 without a lost-time injury accident or illness; and
- Insteel Wire Products in Hickman, where employees logged 329,873 hours on the job without a lost-time injury or illness.