Searching for land for the next new industry, finishing a one-million-square-foot pad with the hopes of luring another industry and helping to fund a new convention center at John James Audubon State Park—these are among the most attention-grabbing of Henderson County Judge-Executive Brad Schneider’s 2023 goals.
Schneider says future industrial expansion in the county will occur along the 425-bypass. One of his top priorities this year is to begin the search for plots of land that could satisfy the needs of another industry looking to locate here.
“What if the next Pratt comes?” he said. “Where do we get the next 200 acres?”
Another top objective is to complete work on a one million square foot pad-ready site at the 4-Star Industrial Park. The park straddles the Henderson-Webster County line.
He hopes the finished pad—all of it within Henderson County—can be the enticement needed to bring a new industry to the complex. If the county and partners can get a commitment from a new industry to move to the park by the end of the year—another of his goals—the already high enthusiasm for local economic development would ratchet up a level.
Schneider said the pad construction occurred because state economic development officials created a grant opportunity designed for local governments to upgrade their industrial parks. Called the Kentucky Product Development Initiative, the government plan includes $100 million in state funding to support upgrades at industrial sites for continued economic growth, according to a Cabinet for Economic Development website.
Henderson Economic Development submitted a request and was awarded the grant. Local economic development officials did not say the amount awarded locally. The KDPI website said a county cannot receive more than $2 million.
Schneider is also examining funding that county government can contribute to the construction of a convention center at John James Audubon State Park, a plan in its early stages currently. The convention center, if built, would be set in the vicinity of the bath houses and paddle boat dock area of the recreational lake, he said.
Some of the less noteworthy, but still necessary, goals include finishing the current fiscal year $500,000 in the black, creating a 2023-24 tax neutral budget, improving the customer service functions of the county government’s website, fixing the courthouse’s plumbing and roofing issues and fixing the Henderson County Judicial Center’s HVAC. All necessary, but none likely to be headline grabbers.