FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) – Site Selection magazine ranked Kentucky first in the South Central region in economic development project announcements per capita in 2021. The Commonwealth is ranked third in the nation.
Part of that success in Somerset, where Mayor Alan Keck guides his hometown through Kentucky’s renaissance.
Somerset is ranked in the top 100 micropolitan cities thanks to its three eligible commercial projects in 2021.
“Our motto is ‘doing business with people’ and I think it’s extremely important that people understand,” said Mayor Keck. “Companies don’t choose locations, people do.”
These are companies like AppHarvest, Team Modern and Horse Soldier Bourbon.
“Were [Horse Soldier Bourbon] come to your hometown,” Mayor Keck said. “We are going to spend a few hundred million dollars because we believe in you, in your people and we love your community. You know, it was an a-ha moment.
Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated the rankings during his Team Kentucky briefing Thursday at the Capitol highlighting Kentucky communities the size of Somerset and smaller that have contributed to the Commonwealth’s success.
“56% of our listings in 2021 were located in rural counties,” Governor Beshear said.
He is committed to continuing in this vision.
“Being on the cusp of a new era of prosperity, it must reach every part of Kentucky,” he explained.
Mayor Keck hopes Somerset’s recent success will spread across the region.
“I think projects like this allow us, allow our young people to say, ‘you know what, what else is possible?’ What else can we do in Eastern Kentucky? »
However, he knows it’s not easy, and it starts with the first step.
“Gone are the days of apologizing for who we are not, and selling [what we are] with ambition and pride,” he said.
For a project to qualify in these rankings, there must be a $1 million investment, 20 or more new jobs created, or 20,000 square feet of space added to a facility.
Although rural counties attracted 147 of 264 private sector projects in 2021, urban counties claimed 68% of the jobs created by these projects.
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