- Special Sections
- Public Notices
THE SERIES: A look back at accomplishments for the county and cities, and a look to what may be priorities in 2013.
NEXT: Vine Grove
Radcliff is primed for new business.
The city spent most of 2012 nurturing its quality of life by purchasing a used trolley and building a modern amphitheater at City Park North, but Mayor J.J. Duvall said the city plans to focus more on economic development in 2013 while continuing its crusade to save taxpayers money.
Duvall said the economic climate has been tough for developers to take a chance, but he hopes opportunities will arise and banks will relax lending practices to give Radcliff an opening to diversify its jobs base and offer more business options in the New Year.
Duvall said construction of the planned veterans nursing home on property near Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central could begin by spring. Coupled with the opening of a new Hardin Memorial Health Family Care Center near the Wilson Road gate at Fort Knox, the nursing home should give the city a new medical presence it can promote to outside businesses and industry who may want to settle near post, Duvall said.
The mayor is actively working on potential developments for Redmar Plaza, too, a site targeted by officials for years as a hub beaming with economic opportunities, but he said nothing solid has been acquired and likely will take years to develop into something with lasting power.
Duvall also said developer and North Hardin High School graduate Joe Markham’s vision to transform Radcliff Square Shopping Center into a multi-million dollar Radcliff Village lifestyle complex with restaurants, hotels, multi-family residential units and entertainment options has been hounded by financing problems and no new movement has been made on the property. But Duvall said Markham still wants to start a project on the property soon.
The mayor recently traveled to the Atlanta area, spending time in Columbus, Ga., where he evaluated the types of businesses located outside of Fort Benning and what the community is doing to attract them. He believes the city will have to re-examine its tax incentives and possibly change the method in which it taxes businesses to become more competitive.
Earlier this year, Duvall presented a report to Radcliff City Council, informing its members Radcliff had been turned down by large restaurant and grocery chains because it does not have the retail base enjoyed in Elizabethtown, which drives traffic to other businesses.
On the financial front, however, the city has found plenty of joyful moments, rolling $1.2 million into its reserves during the past two budget cycles and saving $471,000 in the same time period by streamlining job positions and trimming costs in other areas.
Radcliff’s thrifty tendencies allowed it to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into additional road resurfacing and positioned a healthy nest egg for emergency projects and improvements.
“There’s no fiscal cliff in Radcliff,” he said.
Duvall said city government is improving the look of the Dixie Boulevard corridor through beautification projects, directing attention to the string of decorative streetlights approved down a stretch of Dixie.
The city, in tandem, has partnered with Kentucky Utilities and Nolin RECC to audit every individual streetlight to determine if the right fees are being assessed. Through this process, the city has been able to remove duplicate lights and found charges for streetlight usage on private property for the past decade. Once the audit is completed, Duvall believes significant savings can be reaped.
“The city is always looking for ways to save money,” he said.
Likewise, officials have voiced their desire to review the storm water fee in an attempt to save constituents money. Duvall said an audit of the storm water fee’s tabulation is a priority and will allow Radcliff to question its billing approach, either justifying or condemning the current rate.
“Is it a fair percentage for what we’re charging currently?” he said.
Looking back at 2012, Duvall pointed to partnerships, including the expansion of roughly 73 acres of Saunders Springs Nature Preserve for hiking and biking trails after Fort Knox donated the land.
Duvall said he has spoken with local leaders in other communities, including Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker, about extended cooperation between cities as they promote one another’s strengths in a united front to boost business.
Duvall said Elizabethtown and Radcliff are next door neighbors, but they have their own unique qualities worthy of celebration.
“You can have two communities side by side and they can offer different businesses,” he said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenews enterprise.com.