Tuesday, February 16, 2016

At groundbreaking, mayor praises AHK and Coyle

"This is a day a lot of people began to believe would never happen," Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told a group of officials and executives gathered for the formal groundbreaking of the American Howa Kentucky auto-parts plant Tuesday afternoon. "I think there's more to come out here."

Left to right: Brett Setzer, Brett Construction; state Rep. James Kay,
Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, Plant Manager Gary McPeak, AHK President
Hirosato Nanami, Engineering Manager Kazuhiko Ichii, Deputy State
Economic Development Commissioner John Bevington; Gene Hornback,
Woodford County Economic Development Authority board member;
Woodford County Judge-Executive John "Bear" Coyle
Vandegrift thanked several past and current officials, especially Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle, who he said was a pleasure to work with on the project. "I think it's going to lead to other great cooperation in the next few years between the city and county."

Midway has had conflicts with Coyle, but he and Vandegrift are working together to rework the tax increment financing ordinance and other arrangements that will lead to the commercial and residential development of Midway Station, adjoining the factory site.

"More than anything, we have to thank American Howa Kentucky," Vandegrift said after saying that the city and county couldn't ask for a better company with which to do business.

Gene Hornback, a director of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, thanked AHK for "being the spearhead of development for our community." Local officials expect more plans to locate on the property and/or Midway Station.

Plant manager Gary McPeak, speaking on behalf of AHK, thanked local officials and EDA, which bought the property from the Roach family and sold it to AHK. "Everything runs smoothly and quickly," McPeak said. "It made Woodford County and the City of Midway an easy choice for us."

AHK officials talk with Dr. Jim Roach
Dr. Jim Roach said he was glad to sell the property for an industry that would be "a positive force for the community," and said he had turned down an entreaty to sell it for "a distillery barrel storage area."

The Rev. Mary Weese of Midway Presbyterian Church set the tone for the event with an invocation that asked God to see that "what will be built here will have a firm foundation in wisdom, that all things may be constructed with integrity; that all dreams and plans may be made with courage. We pray that this business, which will make parts for something bigger, will indeed be blessed to play a part in something much bigger: that it will play a part in the well-being of all employed here; that it will play a positive part in the life of this community; that it will play a part in the common good of our society."

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