Original appeared on SPECTRUM NEWS 1 | September 25, 2023 (VIDEO)
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce released an economic impact study last week to get an understanding of the long-term effects the BlueOval SK Battery Park will have on the county.
The plant is slated to generate 5,000 new jobs and will be producing batteries for Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles on 8.4 million square-feet of land, making this the single largest new economic development project in Kentucky’s history, according to the study.
This is something that Elizabethtown’s Mayor Jeff Gregory says has received a somewhat mixed reaction from residents, but most seem to be intrigued and he is looking forward to it.
“It’s exciting, it’s bittersweet, we’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s a great challenge and it’s a challenge that I think most communities would encourage and would love to see happen in their community,” said Gregory. “We have an opportunity to work on it and I think we can shape what this place looks like for the next 50 to 100 years and we’re going to work really hard to make sure we do that in a positive way.”
$5.8 million was invested into this project, and according to the economic impact study conducted by L.B. Schmidt and Associates, a consulting firm in Louisville, there is an expected direct payroll of over $3.6 billion from 2026 to 2035.
“In terms of housing units, we expect a need for nearly 8,800 new housing units in Hardin County,” said Luke Schmidt, president of L.B. Schmidt and Associates. “School enrollment K through 12 will grow about almost 4,000 students and we think there will be a need for 75 new staffed hospital beds.”
Hardin County is expected to have a population surge of over 22,000 people because of the battery park. With more people expected to move into Elizabethtown, Greg Powell, the director of operations for J.R. Neighbors, a restaurant in Elizabethtown, says that it will be great for all the businesses in the city.
“We couldn’t be happier that the folks at BlueOval chose our town to come to and we’re really looking forward to seeing how this develops and where we go from here, so we’re excited,” said Powell.
Between construction workers and executives from BlueOval SK and the Ford Motor Company stopping to eat at J.R. Neighbors, Powell is already seeing the impact of the battery plant before it has even opened.