Our thanks to Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory for presenting at the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation (EHCIF) August Facility Managers Meeting. Our appreciation also extends to the Elizabethtown Police Department, who graciously allowed us to hold our meeting at their headquarters. This was the first meeting held since May, and we were pleased by the high attendance and engagement among attendees.
During his remarks, Mayor Gregory shared an economic development update from the City, contextualizing these developments amid the disclosure of new details from a long-term economic impact study that was commissioned by the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and conducted by the Louisville-based consulting firm L.B. Schmidt & Associates. Key details and projections related to anticipated community growth as a result of BlueOval SK were shared earlier this month during the Chamber’s monthly Membership Luncheon, some of which include an anticipated population surge of 22,380 in Hardin County and that the 2026 – 2035 expected direct payroll (including fringe benefits) at the battery park is expected to be $3.63 billion.
“The bottom line is that we’re going to see a lot of growth and that it’s going to come quickly,” Gregory said. “…The reason we’ve been successful in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and Hardin County as opposed to a lot of other places is because we have a great attitude, great people working together and we’ve got to continue that.”
According to Gregory, approximately 4,000 housing units are currently in the planning stages or are in the construction phase in Elizabethtown. The city has seen nearly $600 million expended in construction expenses over the past year, he said.
Gregory said 15 miles of streets in the city are paved annually and $350,000 is earmarked for sidewalk improvements in this year’s city budget. Other investments highlighted in Gregory’s remarks include a new Public Works building, planned recreation improvements at Freeman Lake Park and American Legion Park, and more. He also emphasized the imminent need to increase wastewater capacity to accommodate new developments in the city.
Amid this growth, Gregory said it is imperative for the city to continue providing robust funding to public safety organizations, including the city’s police department and fire department, with a heavy emphasis on recruitment and retention of personnel.
“Our top priority is always public safety,” Gregory said.
Gregory also discussed with attendees the possibility of collaborations between the City, workforce development organizations, and local employers to provide employment opportunities to those who are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.
The meeting also featured remarks from Elizabethtown Police Department Chief Jeremy Thompson, who provided an update on the department’s use of services provided by Flock Safety. Personnel with EPD explained some of the services offered by Flock Safety and sought community support to fund the services during a facility managers meeting last year. Utilizing a large network of cameras, Flock Safety offers law enforcement agencies solar-powered, motion-activated license plate-reading cameras; machine learning software and real-time alerts. EPD partnered with Flock Safety last year and installed cameras in Elizabethtown in February.
According to Chief Thompson, the cameras have resulted in 24 arrests, the recovery of nine stolen vehicles and the recovery of two missing people so far. They have also been useful in helping nearby police agencies who do not have access to Flock Safety technology, Thompson said. He emphasized that the only insight gained from the cameras is license plate information, which is subject to public record.
“A lot of this technology just helps police get pointed in the right direction in a more expeditious way,” Thompson said.
EHCIF Vice President Andy Games provided a few updates during the meeting, including a reminder concerning Manufacturing Month activities in October. As part of Manufacturing Month, EHCIF is coordinating partnerships between local industrial employers and school systems to facilitate field trips to local facilities and school visits. Local manufacturers interested in participating can contact Lisa Slaven at email@example.com or Laura Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in October, local manufacturers are invited to participate in the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Expo, which is set to take place during the Chamber’s October Membership luncheon on Oct. 11 at the Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown. Local manufacturers interested in participating can sign up by visiting https://hardinchamber.com/manufacturing-expo/.
Games also discussed an upcoming website commissioned by EHCIF called Made Here Elizabethtown, which is designed to provide community newcomers with information about the local manufacturing sector, the local community and available local jobs in manufacturing.
Both Games and mayor Gregory touted the Louisville-based nonprofit Family Scholar House and their partnership with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College during the meeting. Working with Family Scholar House, ECTC is in the process of raising funds to establish a residential complex on its campus premises, designed to house 48 families. This initiative aims to provide support to adult learners who aspire to pursue higher education but face obstacles due to unaffordable housing or transportation constraints. To support the project, visit https://elizabethtown.kctcs.edu/ectc-for-better-lives.
During next month’s facility managers meeting, which is set for Sept. 21, Altec will provide attendees with a site tour at their Elizabethtown facility.