2018 sets economic development record for region

Published 7:38 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

Economic development projects in Boyle County feature heavily in a “record” year for the counties in Kentucky Crossroads, an 11-county regional economic development partnership.

Almost $800 million in new capital investments were announced inside the Kentucky Crossroads region in 2018, according to a news release from the organization.

“The amount more than doubles the previous highest investment year set back in 2010,” according to the release. “Making the year even brighter is the nearly 830 new jobs announced within the region, representing an 85-percent increase over 2017.”

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Kentucky Crossroads says its partnership “has resulted in more than 4,500 new jobs and $1.7 billion in new investments over the past five years.”

“Economic development is a globally competitive endeavor and taking a regional approach is important now more than ever before,” said Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of Develop Danville and spokesperson for Kentucky Crossroads, in the release. “Our 11 communities have found that by banding together for the betterment of the entire region, we ultimately create a win-win for all involved.”

Develop Danville is also known as the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership.

Lassiter said Monday that 2018 has been one of the “busiest years for business development ever” in Boyle County.

“At present, we’ve worked with 120 projects in our (project) pipeline, 76 of which continue to be active or in process,” Lassiter said. “As is the trend, the industrial projects announced this year have been more intensive in capital than jobs. And once again, most of our project activity has been in the small business sector. We’ll have more to share after the end of the fourth quarter.”

The massive growth in demand for Kentucky bourbon whiskey, often called the “bourbon boom,” helped boost economic growth in the region this year, according to Kentucky Crossroads: “Maker’s Mark, located in Marion County, tops the list with two expansions this year, adding 36 new jobs and investing $495 million to greatly increase its barrel warehousing capacity to meet future product demand,” the release reads. “Wild Turkey in Anderson County and Wilderness Trail Distillery in Boyle County also underwent expansions.”

The release notes plans for future distillery projects as well, including two in Boyle County.

A Canadian company, IJW Whiskey, is building rickhouses — warehouses used to age bourbon barrels — on industrial land off of Lebanon Road west of Wilderness Trail; and tentative plans have been announced for another distillery project, Luca Mariano Distillery, east of Danville off of Ky. 52, according to news archives.

The release from Kentucky Crossroads estimates new distillery projects in Boyle, Marion and Washington counties are bringing “a combined investment of nearly $180 million” to the area.

Other Boyle County projects included in Kentucky Crossroads’ list of 2018 announcements are:

• Gypsy Run Brewery, a beer microbrewery now open on North Fourth Street in Danville;

• an expansion at American Greetings on Lebanon Road;

• an expansion at Dana Incorporated in the Boyle County Industrial Park;

• an expansion at Hobart Corporation in the industrial park; and

• an expansion at USA Signs.