EastPark is the marketing name for the Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Park Authority's 1,000-acre business park near Ashland and Grayson, Kentucky. The park is the creation of Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence County governments and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
In the early 1990s the Kentucky General Assembly enacted legislation that allowed for a percentage of the state's coal severance tax revenue to be placed in industrial development "accounts" for coal-producing and coal-impacted counties. The Department for Regional Development (formerly the Kentucky Coal County Commission), attached to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development administers the severance account funds.
Guidelines were developed, in keeping the legislation, establishing three separate classes of industrial/business parks eligible to apply for coal severance funds. The parks were designed single county, multi-county and regional. A regional park, like EastPark, must consist of at least three participating counties and the participating counties that are a part of regional industrial/business park must pledge a portion, or in some cases, all of their regional park severance account funds for the development of the park.
In the case of EastPark, the five country judge/executives met in 1994, under the auspices of the FIVCO Area Development District and the Economic Development Corporation of Boyd and Greenup Counties (later absorbed to form the Ashland Alliance), and decided to apply for regional park funds.
Prior to the judges' meeting, then Kentucky Governor Paul Patton, a supporter of the regional park concept for areas of the state with high unemployment or other barriers to economic development, met with executives of the Addington Companies and negotiated the gift of 1,000-acres of land in Boyd, Carter and Greenup Counties for a regional park. The land, with a deed value of $25 million, along with the right-of-way (land) for a 14. 5 miles industrial parkway (KY 67) connecting I-64 in Carter County with US 23 in Greenup County was donated by the Addington Companies and family.
After the land was pledged, officials from the five counties adopted the required interlocal agreement and other documents, including an agreement on how property tax revenue generated by firms that located in the park will be distributed. It was decided that Greenup County, the lead county with the bulk of the park property, would receive 28 percent of the tax revenue and the remaining four counties would receive 18 percent each. That agreement was formalized and approved by the state. With completion of that agreement an application was filed with the economic development cabinet to fund preliminary engineering for the park. The engineering study and master plan included estimates for phase one infrastructure and a shell building. EastPark is a five country park that lies in three of those counties.
A comprehensive application was filed in 1997 seeking $5.3 million in multi-county funds to build phase one water, sewer, water storage tanks, interior roadways and a 105,000-square-foot shell building, now home to Cingular Wireless. That funding was approved in 1998 and place in a "draw down" account for park development.
A key element to the decision to develop the property as an industrial/business park was the construction of the Industrial Parkway (KY 67), including a $24 million interchange on I-64 and the first 2.7 miles of roadway. The parkway, with a total price tag of more than $80 million was funded by the state via the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The parkway project was divided into four projects. Phase one was opened to traffic five years ago. Phase two was completed and opened in the winter of 2001. Phase three that connected with KY 207 near Flatwoods was ready for public use in December 2002 and the final northern section connecting to US 23 was officially opened to traffic September 25, 2003.
Under phase one, water and sewer, including connection the City of Ashland's water system and the Boyd County Sewer System, was completed in 2000. Later ownership of the systems was transferred to the respective service providers. A 12-inch water line, internal distribution network and the construction of two 500,000-gallon water storage tanks were part of phase one. Sewer service including both 8-nch and 4-inch lines and three lift station were completed in 1999 and 2000. Phase two sewer lines to serve Ohio Valley Wholesale; the campus of the new Ashland Community and Technical College Technical College and the authority's two shell buildings was completed in 2003.
Gas and electric service are in place and Alltel, the local telephone provider, and the park authority had an agreement that resulted in the installation a fiber optic loop and two stations with state-of-the-art communications and data being provided.
Ohio-Kentucky Gas Acquisition, now Natural Energy Utility Corporation, installed gas service to the partk serving both Sites A&B. The gas service was installed in 1999 and early 2000.
The Authority built a 105,000-square-foot shell building that was completed in late fall 2000 and sold in the spring of 2001. That building was finished out and is now home to Cingular Wireless, with employment in excess of 1,000.
While the Authority's building was under construction the board, in concert with the East Kentucky Corporation, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, county officials and other interested parties, successfully recruited Cintas Corporation as EastPark's first tenant. Cintas started construction of a 273,000-suare-foot manufacturing/distribution facility in May of 2000 and completed the structure and moved in within five months. It now has more than 230 employees.
In 2001 Ohio Valley Wholesale acquired approximately 12 acres in Site B and constructed a 56,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution facility. That building was completed in the summer of 2003 and has resulted in more than 65 jobs.
Additionally, in November 2001 the Authority entered into an agreement with American Electric Power to extend the electric "backbone" system to serve portions of Site B. That project, with a price tag of nearly $300,000 included rear of lot installation of service and street lighting.
The Authority recognized the need for skilled workers and job training opportunities for the park and went to work to find ways to help provide those services. They found a great ally in State Representative Rocky Adkins, who successfully placed $2 million in the state budget as a line item to help fund a training center for the park. Other area legislators, from both parties, supported that initiative. The $2 million came on the heels of a successful application filed by FIVCO ADD on behalf of the Authority for $1 million in US Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds. Later every FIVCO county applied for a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant. The $500,000 was used to help build and furnish the training center (Ashland Community and Technical College Technology Drive Technical College).
Also in 2001 Representative Adkins led the initiative to expand the scope of the training center, to be operated by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). KCTCS had received $6.9 million in state funds to revamp its land locked Ashland area campus. Adkins worked closely with the Authority Board, KCTCS and other state officials and was able to combine the Authority's funds with those of the technical college system. That move allowed the Authority to transfer its funds and donate 30 plus acres to KCTCS paving the way for a totally new Ashland Community and Technical College Technology Drive campus.
In December 2001, the land was deeded to KCTCS and ground was broken for phase one of the new campus. A 47,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building was completed in the summer of 2004 and opened for classes in August of the same year. Three to four other buildings are planned for the campus over the next few years.
The Kentucky General Assembly approved $18 million in the FY 05-06 state budget for a second building at the Technology Drive campus. That building is expected to be ready for students in the fall of 2007.
Meanwhile, the Authority awarded bids to Trace Creek Construction of Vanceburg for construction of two shell buildings on EastPark's Site B. An 80,000-square-foot building was constructed in the Greenup Country portion of the site and a 110,000-square-foot structure was erected in the Boyd Country section of the park. The Authority is aggressively marketing the park and the shell buildings.
The Authority donated 41-acres at EastPark Site B to FIVCO ADD for a multi purpose building that is expected to house FIVCO, EastPark, and hopefully a day care facility and medical outreach center. The Ashland Child Development Center is directly involved with the day care facility planning.
In the summer of 2003 Congressman Ken Lucas secured $100,000 in federal funds to help finance the site preparation for the FIVCO multi purpose building. FIVCO employed engineering firms in the summer of 2005 to study the site and make recommendations for utilities, roadways, buildings, etc. That work is nearing completion and preliminary building design discussions are underway.
In July 2005 the Authority relocated its office to the FIVCO ADD's Catlettsburg, Kentucky office building.
EastPark is a multi-phase multi-year project designed to support the needs of business and industry well into the 21st century.