The Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance will be welcoming a representative of a national site selection firm in the upcoming days.
Site selection firms typically come into communities unannounced to scout prospective development sites. But Jon Cross, president and CEO of the Alliance, told Kenton City Council Monday night that the site selector’s visit is being arranged through American Electric Power and this will be a learning opportunity for local officials. “We’re going to learn what we have and how we can improve things,” Cross said. He said site selectors “are basically site eliminators.” A community has to hit on 90 percent of a list of factors to be considered by a potential developer.
Cross said the site selector will view development-ready sites in Kenton and Ada, with discussions about Forest as well. He said 85 percent of industrial development deals start with having an existing building – something the county lacks. “We have zero modern industrial buildings ready,” Cross said.
He said the county needs to find investors and developers willing to construct a building of 100,000 square feet with 28 feet clear height, with land available to expand. While being “vertically challenged,” Cross said on the positive side that 90 percent of all real estate deals for new developments happen in rural America.
Cross, who was delivering an overdue quarterly update to council, also reported on working with Kenton City Schools
on the marketing of the district’s former Hardin Central and Espy sites. “We will talk to the school board about how to move forward,” he said. “Clearly we are trying to encourage the right type of development for the sites.”
Cross said the goal is to do what’s best for the school district and the city. He said Alliance officials have been talking to commercial brokers about the sites. “We believe they are the best sites for development in Kenton, in addition to Morningside Drive,” Cross said.
He also briefed council on the “Eats on the Street” event set for Friday, June 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. on Kenton’s downtown square. Six food trucks from Columbus will feature their offerings. There also will be a vintage motorcycles and classic cars show, a beer tent and live music. Cross said he is hoping the event will draw people to Kenton from throughout the area.