EDA discusses Edgewood, new hospital
The Woodford Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) monthly meeting Friday, Feb. 23 featured a discussion about Bluegrass Community Hospital (BGCH) and the lawsuit that’s put a halt on plans for a new hospital.
EDA Chairman John Soper said he’d attended the Feb. 15 Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission’s public meeting on the update to the Comprehensive Plan. He said critics of the decision to include the 336-acre Edgewood Farm property in the plan cited the lawsuit challenging the Versailles City Council’s annexation and rezoning of the land. The suit, which was filed in September 2016, also challenges the council’s expansion of the city’s Urban Service Boundary to include Edgewood, which is located off Lexington Road between Kroger and Paynes Mill Road.
(Plaintiffs in the suit include Ben and Jennifer Chandler, whose family owns The Sun).
“I thought that was unique. I mean, the city’s annexed it, Planning and Zoning approved it – I don’t know how they can really take their own issue out of the Comprehensive Plan, but that’s their case,” Soper said.
The Edgewood property has been under consideration as a new site for BGCH and other businesses, but the proposed move was put on hold until the lawsuit is settled.
Later in the meeting, while the group discussed plans to update their strategic plan, Soper said he’d been talking to representatives of businesses looking to relocate to Versailles.
“And I need to know what the deal is – if we can get Edgewood through the court system,” Soper said.
Gene Hornback said he was concerned about Edgewood, and asked when Soper thought the suit would be settled.
Soper said he believed Versailles City Attorney Bill Moore will soon ask for the judge to make a summary judgment in the case. One of the two potential clients looking to relocate existing businesses to Versailles was considering Edgewood, Soper said.
Hornback asked if the new hospital was still viable. Soper said as far as he knew, it was.
“I don’t doubt every day that they have to put more money into an old building that they don’t want to put more money into,” Soper said.
Hornback said when a company is looking to move into a new area, the first thing they look for is a hospital. Soper said the uncertainty over a new home also makes it harder for the hospital to recruit new doctors.
Courtney Roberts asked about talk that the company that purchased the Lexington Road Shopping Center was considering opening its facility in the old Kroger building, rather than the recently-closed Kmart.
Soper said he’d given U-Haul officials contact information for a retailer “looking at multiple Central Kentucky locations” that’s interested in the Kmart building.
“Again, it seems unique that U-Haul would make that purchase prior to a complete go-ahead on the zone change,” Soper said. In Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott’s recent State of the City address, he said, “It remains my position that the space in that shopping center is best suited for retail based on the current zoning and adjacent use, and (I) see very little light in the gap on that stance.” Woodford Reserve
Roberts said he’d recently attended an agricultural meeting during which officials at Brown-Forman, the company that makes Woodford Reserve, expressed great excitement about their ongoing barrel warehouse project next to Midway Station.
“ … Obviously, they just can’t make the product fast enough,” Roberts said.