Industrial growth is expanding in Berea and Mayor Bruce Fraley has taken steps to ensure that trend continues in the near future.
Fraley announced Tuesday night the city has joined forces with Fortune Solutions LLC to promote business and economic growth within the city as part of a “three-pronged approach” to that effort. The city signed a contract Monday and it became effective Tuesday.
The firm will provide assistance with existing industries and look for ways to expand growth in the Berea Industrial Park. The firm also will communicate with the state cabinet for economic development and ways to receive state incentives among other small-business responsibilities. Lucas Witt, who has worked with the state cabinet for economic development will head Berea operations.
“I think he’s going to do an outstanding job for us,” Fraley said.
In addition, a small business development center will open a satellite office in Berea and will be staffed by Valerie Henderson, who has “extensive experience” in the small business development field. Her office will temporarily located in the Tolle Building until the third floor at City Hall is complete.
The third prong, Fraley said is the hiring of a full-time business development director. He expects to fill the position in the next four to six weeks.
Fraley attended a groundbreaking ceremony at Novelis for an 18,000 square foot warehouse to be constructed at the current Mayde Road location. The plant is celebrating 30 years at its Berea location this week.
“This is a $1.2 million investment and it underscores Novelis’ commitment to the Berea plant,” Fraley said.
“Congratulations to Novelis and we’re glad to have them here for the long term.”
Wallingford Broadcasting, based on Richmond, will be moving one of its radio affiliate (106.7 FM) to Berea and the station will be housed in the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen building on North Broadway.
In other business:
• During a retirement celebration for former City Administrator Randy Stone earlier this week, it was announced the Community Room at City Hall was re-commissioned in his honor. “It was an awesome event and a good way to send Randy out in a first-class way,” Fraley said.
• Sandy Rowlette said the Spoonbread Festival was a success and estimated that approximately 40,000 people attended the three-day event. “It was huge,” Rowlette said. “We had a great weekend and we broke some records and I think everybody was excited about being there and being involved.” “My compliments to everyone involved in that process,” Fraley added. “On Saturday, I was serving Spoonbread and (talked) to people from five different states. I thought that was pretty awesome to have that many people (attend).”
• The council approved second reading of an ordinance changing the zone from A-1 (agricultural) to R-1 (single family) on 33 acres located at 1035 Peggy Flats Road.
• Fraley declared October as Industrial Appreciation Month and Anthony Medley of Hyster-Yale accepted the proclamation from Fraley. Additionally Fraley signed a joint proclamation (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) with the Madison County Fiscal Court and City of Richmond.
• Berea Codes and Planning Administrator Amanda Haney provided an update on the achievements of her office and personnel.
• David Gregory and Dr. Kennana Brown were named recipients of the John G. Fee Award by the Berea Human Rights Commission.
• Gregory said an updated completion date for the U.S. 25 project is Oct. 15.
• The date for Trick-or-Treat is set for 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 31.
• Jennifer Napier informed the council of a Geocaching event, set for Oct. 18-20.
• Agreed to purchase a custom-built engine fire truck capable of navigating through tough terrain for $536,192. Berea Fire Chief Shawn Sandlin and council members are requesting citizens to inform the city if their home insurance rates have lowered because of an improved ISO rating, which fell from 3 to 2 recently.
Next meeting: Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m., City Annex.