Much of our work over the last two and a half years has concerned the industrial-scale solar facilities that are proposed on thousands of acres of Clark County’s world-class farmland. While that threat persists and our work on the solar issue continues, I want to take the opportunity to share with you some of our other work.
When we formed Clark Coalition, we did so with the intention of creating a permanent organization– one that would advocate for sound land-use policies that enhance Clark County’s defining qualities; and attract excellent jobs, investments and economic opportunities.
Our advocacy work is based on quality research and education. We believe that objective data, research, and analysis are key to developing appropriate land-use policies. With the facts, our local officials can make well-informed decisions that result in real progress for all of us in Clark County.
Over the last two years, we’ve commissioned a number of research initiatives, including:
- A university study on the economic impact of our local agricultural sector
- A university study on utility-scale solar
- A community survey conducted by a leading market research firm; sent to every residential household in Winchester-Clark County
- A study of under-utilized and vacant land by nationally-renowned firm, Lord Aeck Sargent
- A cost of community services study, conducted by CEDIK – the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky
Few communities our size have these resources available to inform good land-use policy decisions.
Why do we do all this?
Because we believe Clark County is incredibly special. From our world-class Bluegrass farmland to our historic downtown and vibrant neighborhoods, our community is unique. It deserves to grow in a thoughtful way that results in only the best economic opportunities for our citizens, both today and in the future.
This fall, we’ve been working on a number of issues. The pending closure of the Perdue Grain Elevator on Rockwell Rd. has been a significant concern for grain farmers in Clark County and around the region. This facility generates millions of dollars in economic impact annually and provides over 300 farmers with a market for their harvest. Without it, farmers would have to haul their grain to distant facilities in Jeffersonville, IN and Silver Grove, KY, imposing a substantial logistical and financial burden.
We met with officials from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development to explore both short-term and long-term options, as well as a potential feasibility study for a new lessor or a new facility. Fortunately, anew leaseholder has taken over the facility and operations have resumed, but this is just one example of the type of work Clark Coalition does to promote our signature agricultural industries.
We have also been busy making preparations for the Comprehensive Plan Update which has recently started. This process takes place every five years and it projects and is the basis for how our community grows and develops.
In our continuing efforts to raise awareness of the proposed industrial solar developments in Clark County, we have launched a dedicated webpage– https://www.clarkcoalition.com/solar. This one-stop shop is a useful reference for those that may be unfamiliar with the issue, or would like to get involved.
Please feel free to share this with your friends and neighbors, and look out for more to come in the weeks ahead.
Education & Research
We are excited to share two new studies.
A study by leading urban design firm Lord Aeck Sargent reveals that Winchester-Clark County has over 14,000 acres of under-utilized and/or vacant land within our planning boundary; of which a notable 3,000+ acres is located within the city limits.
We also worked with the University of Kentucky and CEDIK – the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky – to produce a Cost of Community Services Study.
The Cost of Community Services Study measures the fiscal relationship between revenues and expenditures for different types of land uses.
This study shows that residential development costs Clark County taxpayers significantly more than it generates in revenue. For every $1 in revenue generated by residential development, Clark County taxpayers spend $1.28 providing services.
Taken together, these studies illustrate the opportunity for smart growth policies that will protect our world-class farmland, grow our city in a fiscally-responsible manner and enhance the quality of life that our citizens enjoy.
Engaging our fellow citizens and stakeholders is at the heart of our mission. This fall, we have participated in a number of events to share our research and raise awareness of the issues facing Winchester-Clark County.
We’ve taken part in Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, Night Markets on Depot Street and several festivals. Our booth at the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival over Labor Day Weekend was a particular highlight. We appreciate everyone who visited with us at these events and we extend a huge 'thank you' to all of our volunteers!
The coming weeks and months have much in store for Clark Coalition from the Comprehensive Plan and the state legislative session to the GoodGiving Challenge– which we hope you’ll consider supporting.
Thank you for your interest in the future of Clark County. We are grateful for your support!