Originally Published The Lane Report | February 27, 2023

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — A new study conducted by the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and Murray State University shows the potential economic impact of the BlueOval SK Battery Park on local governments in Hardin County and the surrounding region. Once at full employment in 2025, the facility is estimated to have a yearly value-added impact of nearly $800 million.

KLC and Murray State provided the study on Friday to city and county leaders in Hardin, Bullitt, Grayson, Hardin, Hart, Larue, Meade and Nelson counties.

The study explores the potential direct effects of the project’s investments along with future employment implications, the indirect impact on backward-linked industry purchases (supply chains), the induced effects in spending by households, the value-added impact (the equivalent of the industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product), and the predicted tax revenue effects at all levels of government.

“KLC was proud to partner with Murray State to conduct this study,” said KLC Executive Director|CEO James D. Chaney. “The results show what city officials have known since work began to attract this facility to the region. The BlueOval SK Battery Park will not just have a transformative impact on the state and region’s economies but also on individual communities and the people who live and work there. KLC is committed to working with local governments and economic development officials to prepare for these exciting changes and the very different future they will bring.”

Using IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) input-output modeling software and its proprietary data, the study sheds light on the BlueOval SK Battery Park’s potential impact once it fully employs 5,000 workers in 2025. In addition to the value-added impact, the park’s predicted combined local, state, and federal tax impact is expected to be $158 million. The results provided are in 2023 dollars.

“Local officials and economic development professionals need reliable economic projections as they make decisions that will impact Kentucky’s communities for decades to come,” explained Simone Silva, Ph.D., director of master’s studies in economic development at Murray State University. “Our partnership with the Kentucky League of Cities in this effort is important in moving our commonwealth forward.”

“The opportunity for discussion with our counterparts and economic development experts within the region is paramount to our success,” said Jeff Gregory, mayor of Elizabethtown. “We must ensure that everyone is on the same page and pulling in the same direction to make this unprecedented investment a success.”

Local leaders have been meeting and working together since the fall of 2022 to discuss opportunities and challenges on the horizon in terms of local infrastructure, workforce development, housing, public safety, and other significant local impacts.

“I am encouraged and inspired by the cooperative spirit and commitment of our local officials to work together,” said Richard A. Games, president/COO of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation. “We have an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before us. We have to get it right.”

Read the full study here.