Biz park withdraws Millpond request

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Entity turns down $475,000 authorized by Radcliff council to level portion of business park

By Marty Finley

Improvements at the Millpond Business Center in Radcliff will be delayed until summer 2011 at the earliest.
The North Hardin Economic Development Authority has turned down a $475,000 offer from Radcliff City Council, withdrawing a request to grade a portion of the business park to grade to make the site more attractive for potential developers.
The authority and its executive director, Brad Richardson, originally requested $800,000 in September to grade 40 acres at the site off Ky. 313, telling the council interest in the site had dried up during the recession. They felt it was unlikely a large industry would show interest because the site was not flat.
But in a letter delivered to Radcliff Mayor Sheila Enyart, the authority said taking the money now could negatively affect the city financially and place an unwanted burden on city officials.
Enyart shared the letter with the council during a called meeting Monday.
The authority in the letter said it will withdraw its request until the next budget cycle, which begins July 1.
Mayor-elect J.J. Duvall said Monday that he appreciated the gesture made by the authority and its board of directors. It shows a willingness to work together for the betterment of the city and sensitivity to the concerns of those who opposed the expense, he said.
The decision to allot the money for the project was not without controversy as the council was locked in a 3-3 gridlock until Enyart cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the project.
Defending the decision, Enyart said the city had to take a risk to increase economic development and argued there would never be an opportune time to take on the debt. To increase revenue, she added, the city has to attract more jobs.
Duvall, along with Councilwoman Barbara Baker and Councilman Stan Holmes, voted against the project but assured Richardson their decision  did not indicate an unwillingness to generate economic development. Rather, they felt the timing was poor because the city was in the middle of its budget cycle and unclear what additional expenses it would have to absorb.
Duvall said it is appropriate to delay work on the project until the financial situation is clearer and the new council is in place. Three of the four council members who supported the measure are leaving office next month, and Duvall said the new council would have been left to tackle the consequences of their vote.
Councilman-elect Edward Palmer Sr. publicly chastised Enyart and the council for rushing a vote and pushed for more research. The authority’s decision, Palmer said, was “wise” and will give the new council a chance to analyze the request extensively before making a decision.
Holmes said he needs more details and a defined plan before he can support the project. No bank in the city would approve such a sizable loan with so few details, he said, and the city should be as critical in its review of the request.
“You’ve got to sell me on that project,” he said.
Councilman Don Yates, who voted in favor of the request, said the city should not abandon Millpond’s improvement although the request has been withdrawn.
“I believe that it is a very important issue for the next administration,” Yates wrote in a letter given to The News-Enterprise. “I totally understood from the beginning how important it was to enhance the Millpond Park. I want to make it clear that under economic conditions, as in today, it’s important that leaders must continue to be strong and to look and think outside the box to make sure we continue a stable growth through a stable economy for our citizens.”
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or at mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.