• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

EDA discusses Midway Station option

For years, developer Dennis Anderson has had an option to sell land at Midway Station, a once-nearly vacant industrial park that's landed major employers in the last two years. In return, Anderson pays the interest on the $3.4 million outstanding debt on the industrial park, which in October was $8,290.92 a month. (Both figures decline as land at Midway Station is sold.) At Friday's meeting of the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA), Chairman John Soper expressed frustration about the way the deal can leave him out of the loop regarding possible land sales. In response to a question from William Downey about factors leading potential clients to Soper, Soper said if somebody contacted him about purchasing land at Midway Station, the option forced him to refer the caller to Anderson Communities. "I really don't know what their (Anderson Communities) business plan is and what their intent is, you know? ..." Anderson told The Sun that Midway Station was added to the state economic development website in May of 2016, to which Soper later agreed. Anderson also said he was working on "three live transactions," or purchases. Soper said though state economic development officials want the EDA to be the connection point, "... We don't have that with Midway Station. When I refer them (to Anderson Communities), they kind of go into a black hole. I'm shut out, at this point. So I don't know what to do," he said. Soper said he'd tried to communicate with Anderson Community officials, adding, "But we're at the point, unfortunately, where it's lawyer to lawyer, not principal to principal. I regret that, but that's what it's deteriorated to. "I don't say this lightly, but ... if we had control of Midway Station and we could ... get (all of) it zoned industrial, I think in five years, we'd have 75 percent of it sold and 1,000 jobs there," Soper said. "But as it stands now, our hands are tied." Soper said remaining land at Midway Station includes 20 acres zoned B-5, eight acres zoned professional office, and 60 acres zoned residential that could be zoned industrial. Two new businesses? The EDA unanimously approved paying for a survey development plat for 22 of the remaining 37 acres adjacent to Midway Station. The land was purchased from the Roach family, and the first 15 were bought and are being used by American Howa Kentucky, an auto parts maker and distributor. Soper said two organizations were considering purchasing most of the remaining land, and that one of them might buy five or six acres, bringing 30 "professional" jobs) and the other, between four and nine acres. Soper said one of those potential clients could have chosen Midway Station, rather than the Roach property - but that the Roach property, without the Anderson option, allows the EDA to promote the land and take part in negotiations. The clients learned of the land on the EDA website, he said. Workforce development Soper said a "Teacher Industry Day" Nov. 6 will have local teachers touring Woodford County industries. The event is part of a wide-ranging attempt to inform the present and future workforce about opportunities in local industries and develop classes to prepare high school students for those jobs. Lakeshore Learning Soper said Lakeshore Learning Materials at Midway Station was already receiving inbound merchandise and would start distributing it Wednesday or Thursday. The California-based company also purchased 18 acres behind the land on which its massive building is located, and Soper said he believed the company will one day use that land to expand the building.

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