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Leasing doubles megasite revenue

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

MAYFIELD - The Purchase Area Regional Industrial Authority, which oversees the west Kentucky megasite in Graves County, approved an operating budget estimating $417,471 in revenue for the coming year in a special called meeting Friday.

The majority of the revenue comes from farm leases, which were also approved on approximately 1,500 acres.

The leases are to run for five years. Estimated expenses are listed at $200,000, including $100,000 set aside for a contract for a new executive director.

The board seeks a replacement for Bill Beasley who started with the project in 2001, left the organization, and returned a few years later as a consultant before leaving.

The board will determine the qualifications for the position and how to advertise it. Marshall County representative Betsy Flynn suggested a candidate be found who will not only market the industrial park but the entire Purchase area. The budget includes $55,000 for marketing.

Hickman County Judge-Executive Greg Pruitt, who will leave office Jan. 1, was appointed to serve as the Hickman County representative to the board. He replaces Bruce Kimbell.

The park was formed in 2001, and designated as a megasite in 2009. Megasites typically target businesses that require 1,000 or more acres and $500 million in investments, and generate between 500 and 2,000 jobs. However, estimates on what it would take to build the needed infrastructure at the site have ranged from $40 million to $70 million.

The board effectively doubled the park's revenue by putting the farm leases out for bid, according to Chad Chancellor, Paducah Economic Development president/CEO, the McCracken County representative.

Chancellor said he would like to see the board use the revenue to try to figure out a way to attract jobs.

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

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