The Corbin Economic Development Agency and Southeast Kentucky Regional Business Park are in the process of changing their names to help market the regional focus.
President Bruce Carpenter noted that the economic development agency would now be known as the Southern Kentucky Economic Development Agency, while the business park located off the Corbin Ring Road that is home to Pepsi, Kowa and CTA, between others, would now be known as the Southern Kentucky Business Park.
“In order for our region to grow and move, we had to come together,” Carpenter explained during a presentation from the Kentucky Association for Economic Development at a meeting to discuss strategies and opportunities to accelerate progress across the country. Kentucky.
The Southern Kentucky Economic Development Agency will focus on Whitley and Knox County.
Carpenter said that in his 25 years of working on the region’s economic development, the area of Boone, Kenton and Campbell County in northern Kentucky has defined the success regionalization can have in terms of economic growth.
“I guess now, today, you can say there are eight or nine counties,” Carpenter said of that area.
Carpenter added that by marketing the area as opposed to a single county, he is extending amenities and other positive aspects to potential businesses.
“We have a lot of what I call the amenities of the big cities,” Carpenter said of the area when you combine Williamsburg, Barbourville and Corbin.
“The Williamsburg Water Park is a perfect example,” Carpenter explained, noting that it is a short drive from Corbin or Barbourville. “Why does Corbin need to build a water park when we have such a good one in Williamsburg?” “
Carpenter, who is also executive director of the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said it made sense to change the names for consistency, noting that when Firestone officials initially called the economic development office of Corbin to discuss the recently announced Williamsburg expansion, the person asked if this is the right office.
“Southern Kentucky is what we are,” Carpenter said, noting that southeast Kentucky can encompass anywhere from Pikeville to Pulaski County.
As for the business park, Carpenter explained that it benefits six counties, including Whitley, Knox, Laurel, Clay, Bell and Harlan counties, from the business taxes generated there.
Carpenter noted that in 2011-2012, each county received approximately $ 11,000 in 2011-2012 to approximately $ 41,000 in 2018-2019.
Carpenter added that construction of the Keeneland off-road betting center in Williamsburg has started and that construction of the long-planned harness racing track off the Corbin bypass near the business park is expected. start in October.
“I hope we will continue to move forward with a regional approach,” Carpenter said.