EDA discusses website, new ‘workforce’ housing
The Woodford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) discussed ways to attract new “workforce housing” and revamp their website during its monthly meeting Friday, June 22.
Chairman John Soper said Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott was forming a workforce housing committee to examine ways to lure new affordable housing to the city. Soper said he and Traugott spoke with officials from a Leitchfield development company interested in taking advantage of state and federal programs designed to encourage such projects.
Soper said such apartments would not be public housing, but rather be available to people making less than 60 percent of the median income.
Woodford County traditionally has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and at least some local industries feature a majority of workers who live in another county. Future job growth will depend, in part, upon available housing here, Soper and others have said.
Soper said under existing rules, the Huntertown Elementary School district would qualify for such housing.
“What they want to do is they want to build affordable housing and or workforce housing in a school district that’s good or up and coming, so people have an opportunity to move … to a better school district. It’s kind of counter-intuitive when you first think about it …” Soper said. “So the bottom line is, we need to find some acreage (for affordable housing) within that Huntertown School district …”
The first portion of the meeting featured a presentation by Shane New and Chip Clark of the Bluegrass Area Development District (Bluegrass ADD) regarding how to update and improve the EDA’s website. Soper said the site can’t be all things to all people and should be aimed at businesses wanting to relocate to Woodford County.
“ … From what I know, these folks are out there, they’re gleaning those sites way before they even consider talking to you or consider sending a delegation, and the quality of that information (on the website) is key,” EDA member Paul Schreffler said.
New said EDA members don’t want Woodford County to be excluded because a lack of relevant information on its website. Schreffler said the present site was designed long before smart phones became an increasingly popular method of accessing the internet. Clark said Bluegrass ADD would make the site more smart phone-user friendly.
Clark and New said they’d update the site, including improving its search engine optimization in order to attract new visitors, then meet with an EDA committee to discuss what new features to add.
Soper said Midway Staton’s American Howa Kentucky has exceeded its incentive target of 47 workers and now employs 77, with eight
more needed soon. “A future expansion of that facility is not out of the question if the labor situation can be stabilized …” Soper said.
The EDA voted unanimously to enter into a continuing services agreement with HMB Professional Engineers, which Soper said had been praised by Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift for its work with his city. Among the issues the firm will examine are what steps to take to bring sewer and utility services to the Roach and Freeny properties at Midway Station.