Challenging chamber’s value to Radcliff

When the Chamber of Commerce left Radcliff for Elizabethtown, I believe it became mostly irrelevant to the north end business community, and surprisingly, a burden on Radcliff taxpayers.

The HCCC resides “rent and maintenance free” in real estate owned by Radcliff taxpayers and the building has been allowed to fall into disrepair. Some refer to the building as the “Chamber eyesore.” A bad deal for Radcliff taxpayers was negotiated some years ago, but still continues.

What happened? A merger of the Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Vine Grove and West Point chambers resulted in what now is called the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. The merger was promoted as a path to a stronger, more vibrant chamber, but for Radcliff, that has not happened.

The merger wasn’t necessarily a win for the Eliza­bethtown Chamber of Commerce either. The Radcliff Chamber brought some debt into the marriage which was absorbed by the new Hardin County Chamber Of Commerce.

Although the merger wasn’t a big win for Eliza­bethtown at the time, it has since reversed and the Chamber appears more like the Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce than Hardin County Chamber of Commerce.

My guess is the market distribution for the HCCC is 85 percent Elizabethtown and 15 percent Radcliff.

The HCCC receives free rent from Radcliff taxpayers, which based on market norms I’d value at approximately $24,000 per year. Meanwhile, HCCC collects $12,000 in rent income from its E’town location. And, there is no obligation to spend a dollar on facility maintenance at the Radcliff location and the HCCC doesn’t.

Over the past 10 years, that’s $240,000 in lost rent, could have been enough to prevent the Radcliff council from raising the city occupational tax, among other things needed to meet the expanding pension demands.

Timid leadership and foot dragging motivated by “fear” that HCCC might leave the Radcliff/Vine Grove market entirely if asked to help maintain the building, has us frozen like a deer in headlights.

In Radcliff, our leaders say, we can’t upset the Chamber, what if they left?

The real question is, if the Chamber of Commerce left Radcliff … how would we know?

T.W. Shortt


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