Residents See Ford Factories as Opportunity to Move Forward | Local News

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An autumn breeze blew through the corn stalks in the field in front of the DeRamos’ house in Glendale on Tuesday.

Built about five years ago, DeRamos’ point of view will soon change with the announcement of a $ 5.8 billion investment for twin manufacturing plants, which will consume 1,500 acres directly across the country. Gilead Church Road.

“I am excited and nervous,” said Ranetta DeRamos. “Mixed emotions. I think it definitely put Glendale on the map nationwide.

In preparation for construction, which has been anticipated since early this month following the adoption of an economic package at a special session of the General Assembly, the DeRamose have planted trees to help obstruct the view of the future complex. industrial.

“It’s going to help the economy and we’re all for it,” said John DeRamos. “However, I’m a little worried about how this is going to affect us.”

The couple believe Gilead Church Road could serve as an entrance for some of the 5,000 people that Ford and SK Innovations production plants will employ to produce batteries for next-generation Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles.

This belief led them to advocate the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to include a bike path when Gilead Church Road is widened, Ranetta said.

“We all have bikes,” she said. “These are some of the things that I try to do so that I can still run and cycle without much impact with the traffic I expect to come.”

After traveling with the military for several years, John said he wanted to return to the Glendale area for the peace and quiet that the green pastures and cornfields provide his family. Now that the peace is in question.

“These are just mixed emotions,” he said. “Yes, this is going to help everyone, but how much is it going to hurt us?” “

But the DeRamos have no plans to sell their house and move out.

“I’m pretty confident in the leaders that they’re going to see us as little people here and make sure we can live with what happens,” Ranetta said.

Loss of farmland was always part of the deal for Larry Jaggers II, whose father, Larry Jaggers Sr., negotiated the sale of his share of the 1,500 acres for the site.

“It’s bittersweet,” said young Jaggers. “It’s a farm I grew up on and which we had the chance to re-let. I knew something was going to happen, but it was my home.

Jaggers and his father lease the land to the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation and said the loss of farmland will weigh on future prospects.

“It will be a challenge,” he said. “When you take 1,500 acres, that means it has to be found somewhere else. “

With the possibility of land being taken to other sites to power the megasite and others in Cecilia potentially used for a large solar farm, Jaggers said finding land to cultivate was becoming more difficult.

“It just makes the opportunity to pick up a piece of land even more difficult,” he said. “It’s going to be tough until this thing settles in for a bit.”

Jaggers said his lease is “yet to be determined” what can be done to farmland in the future.

“I hear, especially if they want to do something by 2025, that they’re going to start very soon,” he said. “I do not know at this stage if I am going to make all or part of this harvest. I am convinced that it is probably just this culture.

While the loss of farmland poses a challenge for Jaggers, he is optimistic about the opportunities the plants will present to the region.

“I’m not against what’s going on,” he said. “This land, I knew that when it was sold, it was not going to remain rented out to the farmers, but then it is a great opportunity for a lot of jobs. This is a great thing. This is a good thing.”

Mike Cummings, a 19-year-old Glendale resident, shares Jaggers’ optimism.

“I think the majority of people will like it,” said the former owner of Whistle Stop, an iconic Glendale restaurant.

Cummings said residents find solace in the news that the changes will not affect downtown Glendale, which is home to antique shops, restaurants and other merchants.

“To our knowledge, our small main street in Glendale will not be affected,” he said. “The heart and soul of Glendale will always be there. There will be a lot of development, a lot of housing, a lot of traffic, but I feel like it’s a good thing for Hardin County and a good thing for the state.

As a child, Bronnie Jeffries remembers a time when he and his friends rode bikes during the Glendale Crossing Festival. Now that the festival is so crowded, those opportunities aren’t.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I have been here all my life. Now it’s Kentucky’s second biggest festival and some of us old Glendalians are saying, “I miss the old bathroom runs a bit.

“But we like the sidewalks to be full and the recognition,” he added. “That’s what this factory is. It’s just moving forward.

Gina Clear can be contacted at 270-505-1418 or [email protected]

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