Soper updates EDA on Midway Station developments
Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chair John Soper updated members on developments at Midway Station last Friday, Aug. 23. Members Michael Michalisin and Alex Riddle were absent from the EDA’s monthly meeting. Soper said the recent closing on a $119,925 sale of property to Imperial Paving allowed the EDA to pay the interest on the outstanding bonds for the industrial park. About half of the proceeds from that sale, $60,000, will be used to set up an escrow account to pledge to the loan as additional collateral, Soper said. He called the move a concession to the banks for releasing the property without a set release fee. The $500,000 sale of land to The Journey Ministries will allow the EDA to apply a little more than $409,000 towards Midway Station debt, with $90,500 going into the EDA’s checking account, Soper said. Soper said Craig Wrigley, the owner of True Blu Hemp, asked for an extension on the closing date for a property sale. “I’ve communicated back to him an idea of how we could do that by him paying our interest through the date he wants to close, and increasing the non-refundable portion of the … deposit from $5,000 to $10,000 …” Soper said. “He said, ‘Let me think about that and he’ll get back to me. …” The company is eyeing a 2.42-acre lot in the eastern corner of Midway Station with a plan of purchasing hemp from area farmers and storing it, drying it, then selling it. “I know he’s right in the middle of his growing season and is covered up,” Soper said. Barnhill Chimney is still pursuing financing for its hoped-for operation at Midway Station, Soper said. The EDA approved returning the company’s $5,000 deposit in return for core drilling results the company paid for. New possibilities for land sales include a scheduled visit later that day by someone wanting to buy one of the smaller lots, Soper said. Some of the inquiries are coming from businesses wanting to rent land there for warehouses and another is from what he called a “significant lawn mower-type business.” Multiple land sales at the industrial park the past few years have allowed the EDA to not only pay the debt interest, but also to forgo funding from the city councils and Woodford Fiscal Court for fiscal year 2020, which began July 1. Tourist Commission Director EDA member Maria Bohanan, who chairs the Woodford Tourist Commission, said the commission had begun a search for a part-time director. “ … The goal is to get the heads in the (hotel) beds and hopefully, by doing that, we’re going to show businesses that want to come to Woodford County we’re serious about helping (them),” Bohanan said. “Hopefully, that will be an enticement for someone to maybe want to put a hotel (at Midway Station).” Bills The EDA voted 4 to 0 to approve paying several bills: $312 to attorney Bill Moore, $705 to the City of Midway for mowing and weed eating at Midway Station and $132.50 to the Darrel Young Sign Company for zone change signs at the industrial park. The latter will be reimbursed by the Homer Freeny Trust, which owns the land where the signs were placed.