We had helped a manufacturer (260 employees) locate in Princeton, KY (population 6,536) and have our newest investment there so I was happy to get a chance to tour the community and the two adjacent counties of Caldwell and Lyon. Jim Moore runs the Caldwell-Lyon ED organization and was my tour guide. I was there to speak at their fifth annual meeting.
One of the building blocks for Jim is the fact that KY’s largest experimental agricultural station is located in Princeton. Jim related to me how it landed in the town, “In the early 20’s Princeton was vying for the next state college but lost out to Murray which won Murray State University. We were awarded the experiment station.”
“With 40 PhDs working here, we have the highest per capita number in the entire state. They really help to improve the quality of our education and are very engaged.”
One of Jim’s more interesting accomplishments was the formation of a five county consortium (Caldwell, Lyon, Crittenden, Livingston and Trigg) which put together a 500 acre parcel of an old state pen farm for the purpose of having a mega site for a larger project. These type of land holdings are getting more difficult to put together and I applaud the vision that these five counties showed in putting together the Pennyrile Westpark, one of only five such mega sites in the state of KY.
At the annual meeting John Carner, a long time banker in the community was honored for the 30+ years of being a linchpin in the ED efforts of the area, having been directly involved in more than $70 million in investments that resulted in 2,000+ jobs. I’ve found that it is people like Mr. Carner that really make a difference in a community and I was privileged to get to highlight his many accomplishments at the end of my talk. I called him “Mr. Can-Do!”
Princeton has a series of wonderful murals in their downtown. They’ve been expanding them, featuring some of the rich history of the area.
Caldwell and Lyon counties both have great potential in promoting their access to the 1,800 miles of shoreline on Kentucky Lake (built in the 50s) and Lake Barkley (60s). When I learned that you could still buy a buildable lot of around a half acre for $25,000 to $75,000 I urged my audience to invest in one.
The Baby Boomers, the first of which just turned 60, are drawn to water and lake front property is soaring in value in the places that I’m visiting around the country. Luring in and channeling the energy of these Baby Boomers will become increasingly important for those rural areas with the right natural resources.