Junction City now represented on EDP board

Published 7:56 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

Junction City was represented at Wednesday’s Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership board meeting for the first time in years.

Steve Knight was introduced as the new Junction City appointee by Chamber of Commerce chair Rick Waldon and given a round of applause by those in attendance.

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“I was glad to be there. I was glad to be able to fill out that empty spot on the board,” Knight said Wednesday afternoon. “We thought it was time to complete that because that was a component — it just left a hole in the development efforts and Junction felt that they’re ready to become a part of that.”

Knight, who runs a web-design company and a computer-repair business, said he’s ready to get up-to-speed on EDP projects and help figure out how to benefit “all of Boyle County, not just Junction City.”

“We can do that better if we’re all working together,” he said.

Junction City Mayor Jim Douglas said he appointed Knight because he thinks Junction City deserves more attention than it’s been getting. Douglas cited a Chamber of Commerce event scheduled in Perryville this week as one example of what made him feel “like Junction City wasn’t a part of Boyle County.”

“I felt like EDP was promoting Perryville, promoting Boyle County and the City of Danville. But I just didn’t feel like they were doing anything for us,” Douglas said. “Therefore, I felt like we ought to join in. We’ve got a lot of potential over here in Junction City that folks don’t recognize and I think it’s about time they do.”

Douglas said he chose Knight for the job because “he seems very knowledgeable of the community.”

Waldon, who spoke to Junction City Council earlier this month about what the Chamber of Commerce was doing to help Perryville, said Wednesday afternoon that he emphasized the ability of the Chamber to help Junction City as well.

“Getting Junction City to participate in the newly created EDP was simply a matter of showing Mayor Douglas how the city could potentially benefit from having a voice in the EDP process,” Waldon said. “Mayor Douglas was quick to see that there was an upside to participating both now and in the future for Junction City.”

Waldon said there has “been an unwritten undercurrent out there between Perryville, Danville and Junction City.”

“One of the goals of ‘the new’ Chamber of Commerce is to bridge whatever these issues are and put them behind us,” he said. “By working together as a single community, we can retain the individual strengths of each and make a more significant impact on our economic growth going forward.”

Hal Goode, chief operating officer for the EDP, was grateful for Waldon’s work with Junction City.

“Rick is a great partner of ours,” he said.

Goode said Junction City Clerk Susan Music contacted him Friday and “said that Junction City is coming on-board with EDP and wanted an invoice. I told her, ‘great,’ and she said Mayor Douglas would have someone (appointed).”

Junction City will have to contribute just over $1,500 to the EDP budget in order to use its voting seat on the board. That’s an amount determined by U.S. Census Data: Every EDP partner is required to contribute a minimum of 67 cents for every resident inside their jurisdiction area. As of the 2010 Census, Junction City had a population of 2,241.

Knight said something he’s already interested in is whether the EDP partners could hire a full-time grant writer. Such a position’s benefits could greatly outweigh its costs to the partners, he said, noting that a big expense Junction City has looming on the horizon is the need for a new city hall building. A grant-writer might be able to help land a grant to mitigate the cost of such a project, he said.

Knight said Junction City is sometimes seen as “a residential suburb of Danville, but there is potential there for some manufacturing growth.”

He pointed to the nearby Danville-Boyle County Airport and the U.S. 127 corridor that runs through Junction City as areas ripe for economic development.

“I think there’s an opportunity there for Junction to contribute more than just being a residential suburb of Danville,” he said. “… There’s some potential that we’d like to explore.”