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Build-ready site moves forward

A business park project near the Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Cumberland designed to attract new companies to Harlan County is advancing as plans for a state certified build-ready site move forward.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley provided an update on the ongoing project.

“We’ve been in the process for about the past year of working on a business park project because we don’t have land that is suitable and immediately ready for a company,” Mosley said. “The county owns the golf course property at Cumberland. It’s about a 150-acre tract.”

Mosley explained the goal is to develop the state’s first certified build-ready site east of I-75 and south of I-64.

“We’ve been working with an engineer…to do all of the surveying and geotechnical type of work,” Mosley said.

“The preliminary engineering is completely done. They are putting together a bid package for site development services. We’re just looking to do an initial 10-acre plot.”

Mosley said the 10-acre plot is just off U.S. 119 and will be the first certified build-ready site.

“The bid package (for site development) will go out probably later this month or early October,” Mosley said. “Hopefully, we’ll see a contract awarded some time in November.”

Mosley said it is possible the physical preparation for the site could commence early next year. He added the county has already lost one company due to not having a suitable piece of property to offer.

“We lost out on a company a couple of years ago because we did not have a 100,000-square foot building, nor did we have a piece of land that was ready to accommodate such a building,” Mosley said. “We don’t want to lose out on opportunities that will present themselves in the future because we don’t have anything ready to market.”

Mosley pointed out there may be more development to come should such a project become viable, but that is not the plan at this time.

“If we’re able to attract a company to occupy (the initial site), we may look at further development of the remaining land, or if we were to secure funding to develop the remaining land certainly that’s something we would consider,” Mosley said. “As of right now, our only plan is to develop that one sight and market it as a state certified build-ready site which will also have a Veterans Walking Trail adjacent to it and a nine-hole golf course.”

The Sleepy Hollow Golf Course will remain open, according to Mosley.

“There will be a small modification to the course on one hole,” Mosley said. “The only way it doesn’t remain open is if a company comes in and wants the entire 150 acres.”

Mosley explained the county is focusing on diversifying the economy.

“We’ve already seen 400 new jobs created in the last three years due to diversified interest such as Teleworks USA, Kitts Creek Firewood, Addiction Recovery Care, JRL Coal, Northstar Logistics, Heartland Payment Solutions and SEKRI, so we’ve had new jobs created and we’ve had existing companies expand,” he said. “But, we’re continuing our endeavor to truly diversify where we can house some type of light manufacturer.”