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ISSUE: The value of One Knox
OUR VIEW: Impact is clear, unquestionable
To deal with the regional impact of Fort Knox’s transformation, several local communities joined hands to form a focused message of welcome and support.
One Knox came into being as an arm of the Lincoln Trail Area Development District. It soon became a high-profile community organization because of the monumental task of welcoming newcomers, responding to increases in population, traffic and economic opportunity resulting from the arrival of the Human Resources Center of Excellence, and a variety of other new missions, including a fighting brigade and the soon-to-be deactivated Accessions Command.
The organization is responsible for establishing a new paradigm for local governmental cooperation. With its “speaking with one voice approach,” One Knox managed to unite people from multiple counties and dozens of jurisdictions toward a common goal, no small accomplishment.
In the process, it largely is credited with securing from state government funding totaling $251 million that has fueled road and infrastructure improvements. Through changing administrations and countless rewrites of two biennial state budgets, local upgrades needed to address BRAC remained intact, thanks in part to One Knox’s continual involvement.
The local legislative delegation, city and county leaders, and key members of the governor’s staff also deserve credit. But this united effort was so successful that there’s plenty of praise to go around.
One Knox managed to keep everyone on track and in the game.
The task was huge but it largely has concluded. It’s reasonable to wonder about the future of One Knox.
Should it continue as an arm at LTADD? Is it important to continue to serve as a one-stop civilian facilitation center for Fort Knox’s leaders? Could it provide us with a method to encourage further Army development on post and prepare for another BRAC? Will its federal funding dry up? Do local governments have more pressing needs for money contributed to support One Knox? These all are pertinent questions regarding the future of One Knox.
However, it does not seem appropriate to diminish the significant efforts and accomplishments of One Knox.
Although action has not yet been taken, a majority of Radcliff City Council voiced support for withdrawing funding from One Knox.
The city budget included $10,000 for One Knox. Since the 2005-06 fiscal year, Radcliff has supplied One Knox with $82,000.
Councilwoman Barbara Baker made a statement that could be considered indefensible.
“I don’t see $82,000 coming back to us,” she said. Her view was not challenged by other council members and generally supported in their comments.
Hopefully, other Radcliff residents driving on the improved section of North Wilson Road can appreciate the $8.5 million state investment. The Wilson Road work was especially noteworthy because it happened despite never being a part of the state’s six-year road plan — a priority list that’s rarely circumvented.
Certainly, students attending Radcliff Elementary School will benefit from more than $6.7 million in renovations, improvements and expansions, which still are under way.
Hardin County Water District No. 1’s Radcliff residents are beneficiaries of $10.75 million in infrastructure upgrades for water and wastewater services.
Motorists caught in the morning and afternoon rush hours along Dixie Boulevard in Radcliff surely will enjoy other options provided by state funding for road connecting Bullion Boulevard to the newly extended Ky. 313 and other alternate routes. The Bullion connection alone has an estimated price tag of $21.4 million.
All those results add up to much more than $82,000 ever could accomplish.
One Knox’s efforts also had a very human impact. It staged 13 community tours introducing HRC newcomers to their new hometowns both here and in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis. One Knox also established job fairs matching residents with employers.
One Knox’s work provided extraordinary impact and valuable research. Separate professional studies were conducted on regional economic impact, highway capacity, educational, medical and housing needs plus a business accelerator analysis solely focused on the city of Radcliff.
The research continues as One Knox currently is developing a capstone research project that will track and verify the final impact in terms of new arrivals, new jobs and the fulfillment of BRAC’s expectations.
Brad Richardson, executive director of One Knox, said in a recent interview that it’s “pretty clear that One Knox has been valuable.”
Unlike Councilwoman Baker’s statement, the facts support Richardson’s opinion.
If Radcliff or any local government decides to opt out of One Knox funding for reasons of priority or financing, that’s understandable.
But to say the effort was not rewarding is simply inaccurate.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.