Tuesday August 16, 2022
News Sections

In April 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury certified 144 Opportunity Zones in 84 Kentucky counties as recommended by Governor Matt Bevin under a new community development program, the Investing in Opportunity Act, part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In Louisville, 19 census tracts are designated as Opportunity Zones.

The Opportunity Zones program is designed to spur economic development and create jobs by encouraging long-term investment in economically-distressed urban and rural areas. The program provides a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds that are dedicated to investing in Opportunity Zones.

“The Opportunity Zones program establishes the framework for investors to inject investment into projects in our city that will have a significant social impact. Projects like the redevelopment of the Louisville Gardens, the Track on Ali at Heritage West, and projects from Butchertown to downtown to west Louisville are great examples of developments that could benefit from this program,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “We look forward to continuing our work with our partners at the state and with local investors to strategically grow our city.”

To assist business owners and investors with identifying Opportunity Zones, the city created an interactive map to show exact addresses and boundaries of Louisville’s designated Opportunity Zones.

To search Louisville-specific addresses, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/opportunity-zones-louisville

To learn more about Kentucky Opportunity Zones, visit www.KYOZ.com

To read more about Opportunity Zones in general, visit https://eig.org/opportunityzones

Photo: Kentucky Cabinet For Economic Development

Kentucky received a 2017 Gold Shovel award from Area Development magazine, recognizing the commonwealth’s success last year attracting corporate investments that create jobs and grow the economy, Gov. Matt Bevin and the publication’s editors announced earlier this week.

The honor, a first for Kentucky, follows the recent announcement that, in only five months of 2017, the state shattered its all-time, full-year record for corporate investment.

“This Gold Shovel award brings additional national attention to the fact Kentucky is a serious economic development contender, both in our recent achievements and for what we have in the pipeline,” Gov. Bevin said. “We’re making changes to improve Kentucky’s business climate by cutting red tape, revolutionizing our workforce development and building our reputation internationally as a top choice for engineering and manufacturing projects, tech investment and service-related businesses. We’re honored to receive this award and are moving forward with focus and urgency to bring investment and new jobs to communities across Kentucky.”

The annual Shovel Awards by Area Development, a leading trade publication, recognize state economic development agencies that drive significant job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, processes and promotions that attract new employers and investments in new and expanded facilities.

Area Development invited each of the 50 states to submit information about its top-10 job creation and investment projects initiated in 2016. Based on the number of high-value-added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities and industry diversity of the 10 submitted projects, Kentucky qualified for the Gold Shovel award among states with populations between 3 million and 5 million. The top-10 projects and associated job creation figures are listed here and a full report of 2016 corporate investment is available here.

“The states and communities receiving 2017 Shovel Awards have compiled impressive lists of new and expanded facilities,” said Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development. “They have found the right recipe for success and deserve to be recognized for winning high-impact economic development projects.”

Commenting on Kentucky’s award, she noted “the state’s economic growth is broad-based, as evidenced by new projects under way in a diverse range of sectors, including automotive, distribution, biotech and food processing.”

Terry Gill, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development secretary, said he expects the performance to continue throughout this year.

“This Gold Shovel award not only highlights policy achievements at the state level, but also recognizes the dedicated work of our Cabinet staff and our partners,” Sec. Gill said. “Without enthusiastic participation from regional, county and city economic development organizations, the state’s business community, utilities, non-profits and educational institutions, the recent successes that drew this award and those that are propelling our current record-breaking performance wouldn’t be possible.”

Kentucky previously received Silver Shovel awards in 2007 and 2011–2016.

A full review of this year’s Gold and Silver Shovel award winners will be published in the Q2/2017 issue of Area Development and posted online at www.areadevelopment.com in early June.

This year’s corporate investments in Kentucky – at nearly $5.8 billion – already topped the 2015 record of $5.1 billion.

Those investments also put Kentucky on pace this year to create the most new jobs in a decade. To date in 2017, more than 9,500 new jobs have been announced. And the numbers for both jobs and investment are increasing daily.

Kentucky’s low costs of housing, innovative workforce-training and pipeline programs, and its ideal location within 600 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. population all make it a top choice for new business locations and expansions.

Nineteen interstates and highways, major rail networks, barge traffic on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, five commercial airports and dozens of regional airports all serve Kentucky businesses. As well, electricity costs for industrial use are nearly 20 percent lower than the national average.

Kentucky holds a leading position in air cargo capability, offering the UPS Worldport and Centennial ground hub in Louisville, DHL Americas hub and Amazon Prime Air in Northern Kentucky and several large FedEx facilities throughout the state. This strong distribution logistics presence allows products to move anywhere in the world virtually overnight.

The commonwealth’s geographic advantage as a gateway between the Midwest and South, make it an ideal location for engineering and manufacturing operations including steel and aluminum-related operations. A strong automotive, appliance and aerospace presence – including factory systems designers and integrators – provide new and expanding businesses with ready sources of raw materials, finished components, expertise and customers.

Other core and high-growth sectors include food and beverage production – which encompasses the bourbon and spirits industry – technology, healthcare research and development and chemicals and rubber production.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

Photo: Secretary of State website

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is visiting Taiwan next week on an international trade mission to Asia with a delegation from the United States.

Grimes is one of four secretaries of state selected to participate in a trip the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) is coordinating and funding. Grimes made a similar visit in 2013, making the trip her second in office.

“I am proud of the relationships we have built with companies operating in Taiwan and with government officials there. During my second visit to Taiwan, I will continue to spread the word about why doing business in Kentucky is prudent and encouraging investment in the Commonwealth,” said Grimes, who is Kentucky’s chief business official.

Grimes is committed to facilitating growth for Kentucky businesses abroad. Since her 2013 trip, Grimes has met numerous times with TECRO officials during their visits to the Commonwealth. Earlier this year, she worked with representatives to help make Kentucky the 21st U.S. state with a reciprocal driver’s license agreement with Taiwan, further strengthening economic relations.

Grimes will meet with several of the Kentucky companies with offices in Taiwan, including Ashland, Inc., Sunspring America, Inc., and Taihu Brewing. She will also meet with representatives of the Asian Pacific Council of American Chambers. Other corporations with a Kentucky-Taiwan presence include Brown-Forman and Conntek Integrated Solutions in Louisville.

Taiwan is Kentucky’s 6th largest export market in Asia with more than $147 million exports in 2015. Also in 2015, Taiwan officials signed letters of intent to purchase corn and soybeans from Kentucky growers in 2016 and 2017.

Taiwan and Kentucky have been sister states since 1982 in a partnership formed by former Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr.

“Taiwan has been one of Kentucky’s important partners on the international stage. I look forward to helping foster growth of our partnership and seeking more mutually beneficial trading relationships within Taiwan,” Grimes said.

MayorGregFischerOfficialThree businesses were approved for loans totaling  $410,000 by the Department of Economic Development’s Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO) and the Department of Community Services’ Microbusiness Development Program. The loans will leverage a total investment of $3.4 million and will assist the companies to open, to expand services or to revitalize properties.

METCO loans have been awarded to the following businesses:

  • Three loans were approved for Butcherblock Properties, LLC for properties located at 115-117 N. Wenzel Street, 1004 E. Washington Street and 1007 E. Main Street in the Butchertown neighborhood. The loans will allow owner, Andy Blieden, to improve the façades of the buildings and to make accessibility improvements.
    • $65,000 façade loan (115-117 N. Wenzel Street)
    • $65,000 façade loan (1004 E. Washington Street)
    • $65,000 façade loan (1007 E. Main Street)
  • $200,000 business loan has been approved for Gravely Brewing, LLC for its property located at 514 Baxter Avenue. The loan will allow owners, Nathaniel and Holly Gravely and Cory and Kelly Buenning, to purchase equipment and prepare the building for commercial reuse as a brewery/music venue/taphouse.

A microbusiness loan has been awarded to the following business:

  • $15,000 loan to The CERA Group, LLC to assist the owners, Jamie Keith and Mary Jefferson, with rental space, office equipment and marketing efforts. Located at 332 W. Broadway, The CERA Group provides consulting expertise to non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals to develop ideas and concepts that impact education and the greater good.

The Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO) governs metro government’s small business loans, which include facade, accessibility and gap financing loans. Because metro government is not the primary lender, the loan program allows many public-private partnerships between government and private business ventures that further the vitality and quality of life in the Louisville community.

The METCO board meets the fourth Thursday of each month. Meetings are at 9:00 a.m., at the offices of Louisville Forward, located at 444 S. 5th Street, 6th floor. Remaining meetings for 2017 are scheduled for March 23, April 27, May 25, June 29, July 27, August 24, September 28, October 26 and December 14.

To learn more about the METCO loan program, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/local-loan-programs

Louisville Metro’s Microbusiness Development Program helps low and moderate income business owners with starting and growing small businesses. A microbusiness employs five or fewer people, including the owner. The program includes training, technical assistance and an opportunity to apply for a loan.

Many microbusinesses have little or no access to the commercial banking sector, and this loan program helps businesses owners who need capital.   Loans range from $500 to $15,000. Borrowers have a choice of two programs, one for businesses which have been open for at least one year, and the one for start-up businesses.

For more information about Community Services’ microbusiness program, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/community-services/microbusiness-program.

Newly created bond fund to modernize facilities, better equip Kentucky’s workforce

WorkReadyLogoGov. Matt Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner today announced the launch of the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative. This new $100 million statewide bond program is aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of employers and promote sustainable incomes for Kentuckians.

“As I travel the state, I hear repeatedly from employers about the shortage of workers with the skills needed to get the job done,” said Gov. Bevin. “Making this problem worse, is the fact that Kentucky’s workforce as a percent of its population is currently one of the smallest in the nation.

“We must work diligently to be more economically competitive and create more jobs. We intend to make Kentucky the manufacturing and logistical center of excellence in America. This will start with having the most highly skilled and well trained workforce in the country. To accomplish this, we will better align our education systems and our workforce needs. This is exactly why we have created the Work Ready Skills Initiative.”

This bond fund infuses resources to expand career and technical education facilities and to upgrade equipment in those schools to current and future industry standards through local partnerships between private industry and educational institutions. The locally driven initiatives will train and educate workers to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky’s employers now and in the future.

“The Work Ready Skills Initiative will bring industry together in partnership with educational institutions like KCTCS (Kentucky Community and Technical College System) to propose workforce training projects that lead straight to jobs,” said Sec. Heiner. “Proposals will be detailed and require industry to come together with the regional community and provide a local source of funds to match the state’s investment.”

The initiative was passed and funded by the General Assembly in the recent biennial budget and will be administered by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet with support from the Cabinet for Economic Development. Proposals will require at least 10 percent match by local partners. Applications will support locally developed projects that include the participation of a private employer, educational agency and other interested local and regional partners, so that the plan is tailored to the workforce and industry needs of the area.   Continue reading

New tech, process improvements to raise product quality in Bowling Green

CorvetteBowlingGreenGeneral Motors Corp. plans to invest $290 million to improve technology and processes at its Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Gov. Matt Bevin announced today.

“GM has a long tradition of commitment to southcentral Kentucky and to producing, in Warren County, the finest sports cars in America,” said Gov. Bevin. “This benefits our entire state, both as a source of pride and as a tremendous contributor to our economy.

“For 35 years, the Bowling Green Assembly Plant has provided jobs to thousands of Kentuckians and to hundreds of suppliers and vendors. We congratulate GM and offer our commitment to lending them support for this project and any others they may undertake in the future,” continued Gov. Bevin.

The $290 million includes a $153 million new project aimed at improving vehicle assembly line processes. Two ongoing projects at the Warren County plant – a $44 million, 36-job capacity expansion of the Performance Build Center and a $439 million investment in a new paint shop and other facility upgrades – increased by about $137 million.

“We are making technology investments that will continue to improve our manufacturing processes and ultimately the quality of our vehicles,” said North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones. “We are putting Corvette customers first by building upon our world-class manufacturing process.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in Bowling Green, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in a special meeting in June preliminarily approved GM for up to $3 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program. The incentives are based on eligible company investments of up to $153 million and creation of up to 270 jobs over 10 years.

KBI’s performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green, noted the impact the announcement will make on one of the state’s target industries.   Continue reading


Public Works, Bridges and Transportation – Tuesday, August 4th 3:00pm

The Committee has three items under review:

  • An ordinance amending the code of ordinances regarding historical landmarks and preservation districts as it relates to the salvage and preservation of brick pavers removed from streets and alleys
  • An ordinance relating to enforcement of driveway permits
  • A resolution calling for the reinstatement of a security guard at the Congress Alley entrance of City Hall


Labor & Economic Development – Tuesday, August 4th 4:00pm

The Committee has the following items under review:

  • An ordinance ratifying a collective bargaining agreement between Metro Government and AFSCME, AFL-CIO Local 2629 for Civilian Supervisory Employees of Metro Corrections
  • An ordinance establishing the Axis on Lexington Development Area
  • An ordinance establishing the 800 Building Development Area
  • A resolution involving two parcels of property at the intersection of Muhammad Ali Blvd., 30th Street and West Market Street
  • An ordinance dealing with a bond project for Bellarmine University


Appropriations NDFs & CIFs – Tuesday, August 4th 5:00pm

The Committee will review grant requests for Neighborhood Development Funds and Capital Infrastructure Funds of the 26 districts of the Louisville Metro Council.


Public Safety – Wednesday, August 5th 3:30pm

The Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinances dealing with short term rentals. Those who wish to speak may sign up one hour before the meeting on the Third Floor of Historic City Hall.


Contracts and Appointments – Thursday, August 6th 3:00

The Committee will review proposed contracts for Metro Government. The Committee will also review proposed appointments to the Board and Commissions of Metro Government.


Budget – Thursday, August 6th 5:00pm

The committee has several items under review:

  • An ordinance for a forgivable loan to New Directions Housing Corp. for a single family dwelling in Shelby Park
  • An ordinance to transfer funds between NDF and CIF in District 19
  • An ordinance to transfer funds between NDF and CIF in District 23
  • And ordinance to amend the Metro Street Improvement Program funding


*Meeting times are subject to change. Agendas are followed at the discretion of the Chair of each Committee. While an item may be listed, it does not mean all items will be acted upon by a committee.

To review all agendas of the committees of the Louisville Metro Council, go to the Metro Council Clerk’s web page at: http://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council/metro-council-clerk

All meetings are aired live on Metro TV Insight cable Channel 25. Meetings are also streamlined on the Metro Council’s website. Go to: http://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council  and click on the “Watch Meetings Online” icon.

For more information contact:

Tony Hyatt 574-4137 / 526-3622

Stephen Haag: 574-1204  / 645-1752