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Radcliff First hosts inaugural gathering

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Small business support group in the works

By Ben Sheroan

With more than 100 in attendance, Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall outlined a new community emphasis called Radcliff First.

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The gathering Wednesday at Colvin Community Center included introduction of a planned “buy local campaign” exclusive to Radcliff and establishment of a Small Business Alliance to support local business efforts. The mayor also plans to create a task force to examine the community’s economic climate and hopes to schedule periodic Radcliff First networking opportunities and business workshops.

Describing his family’s small business background, Duvall stressed the importance of government, business and community “networking together to continue moving in the right direction.”

Duvall opened the luncheon with review of major initiatives of his administration regarding community pride, beautification and economic development. Among the highlights were establishment of 11 community festivals and events, expansion of Saunders Springs Nature Preserve, development of an amphitheater in City Park North, increasing the medical presence in the city, new community signs and streetscape improvements, including planned decorative street lights.

After his presentation, Duvall introduced Toshie Murrell, president of the Heart of Kentucky Board of Realtors and a Radcliff resident, as the keynote speaker.

“Realtors are the key to growth,” Duvall said. “They are the ones out there selling our community.”

Murrell stressed the importance of home ownership to the area’s economic development. She cited statistics related to record low interest rates and the importance of maintaining state and federal tax deductions for mortgage interest.

When discussing economic development in Radcliff, she encouraged residents to ask “what can we do to help? Be positive. Get involved.”

Terry Shortt announced establishment of the Radcliff Small Business Alliance to provide a voice for the local retail community, including ethnic businesses that help define Radcliff’s diversity and its nature as a military town.

Shortt said the organization, which has a steering committee in place, does not want to replace or repeat programs of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. Instead, it will seek to provide training, networking and promotion options within the community.

Shortt said any vacant storefront “represents a failed business that didn’t have enough customers.”

He stressed Radcliff residents are not often aware of many shopping options in their community and head instead to neighboring business centers in Elizabethtown or Jefferson County. The alliance will try to break that habit by emphasizing a buy-local campaign to connect Radcliff shoppers and Radcliff businesses.

In his earlier remarks, Duvall said between lumber yards, hardware stores, electrical specialty shops, carpet suppliers and a variety of other builder services, Radcliff businesses offer every item needed to build and furnish a home. It was cited as one example of failing to appreciate retail options already available in Radcliff.

The progress of Radcliff First and the community’s future economic strength will be defined by volunteer involvement working in concert with city resources, Duvall said.

“Each and every one of you mean something to Radcliff,” he said.

Ben Sheroan can be reach at (270) 505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.