• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

EDA to sign purchase deal with CSI Group

During a special meeting Friday, Nov. 13, the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) unanimously approved a motion allowing Chair Michael Michalisin to sign a purchase agreement with a company that could bring 40 or so jobs to Midway Station. The action was taken after the EDA met briefly in executive session. Michalisin said the company, CSI Group, will pay $63,000 per acre for the 3.67 acres in lot 25. In response to a question from the Sun, he said the price, which is slightly less than the $65,000 per acre the EDA has established for industrial-zoned land there, was a negotiated sum and an appropriate price. Michalisin said the company designs robotics for companies like Toyota. The company is presently headquartered in Toyota City, Japan and Lexington – and is expected to move its Lexington operation to Midway Station. The company’s website states, “We cut our teeth in the trenches of North America, and we’re proud to be the only North American-based company regularly performing modifications/integrations at world renowned plants such as Tsutsumi, Motomachi and across Japan. No small feat. We’re regularly building and integrating and solving problems throughout North America and Asia.” Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift congratulated the EDA for landing the company. In response to a question from the Midway Messenger, he said he believed CSI’s salaries would be comparable to those paid by American Howa Kentucky, another company at Midway Station serving the auto industry. Bluegrass Distillers Before the meeting, which was held via Zoom and Facebook Live, Michalisin asked if members had seen an email dealing with Bluegrass Distillers’ inability to get a sign off from the state Historic Preservation Office for a community development block grant (CDBG). Vandegrift said if the office needed someone to tell them the planned project on the Mitchell property near Midway Station was not going to offend any Native-American tribes, he’d be happy to do so. At the EDA’s Sept. 25 meeting, Executive Director Lucas Witt said the state Cabinet for Economic Development had given its approval for the CDBG, which offers recipients low-interest loans, the day before. The company, which is headquartered in Lexington, is expected to employ 18. A call Monday morning to Bluegrass Distillers, whose co-owner, Sam Rock, was profiled in the Sun in October 2017, was not immediately returned. Rock is an attorney who graduated from Woodford County High School in 1989.

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