Local residents see Ford factories as an opportunity to move forward | Local news


An autumn breeze whispered through the corn stalks in the field across from the DeRamos home in Glendale on Tuesday.

Built about five years ago, DeRamos’ perspective will soon change with the announcement of a $ 5.8 billion investment in two production facilities that will consume 1,500 acres just across Gilead Church Road.

“I’m excited and nervous,” said Ranetta DeRamos. “Some mixed feelings. I think it definitely put Glendale on the map nationwide. “

In preparation for construction, which has been expected since the beginning of this month following the adoption of an economic package during a special session of the General Assembly, the DeRamoses planted trees to obstruct the view of the future industrial complex.

“It will help the economy and we are all for it,” said John DeRamos. “But I’m kind of nervous about how this will affect us.”

The couple believe Gilead Church Road could be used as an entrance for some of the 5,000 people that Ford and SK Innovations manufacturing facilities will employ to make batteries for next-generation Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles.

That belief has led them to advocate the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to include a wheel track when Gilead Church Road is widened, Ranetta said.

“We all have bicycles,” she says. “Those are some of the things I try to do to keep it that way I can still walk and ride my bike without the traffic I expect to get big.”

After traveling in the military for several years, John said he wanted to return to the Glendale area to enjoy the peace and quiet that the green pastures and corn fields offer his family. Now this peace is in question.

“It’s just mixed feelings,” he said. “Yes, it will help everyone, but how much will it harm us?”

But the DeRamoses have no plans to sell their house and move away.

“I’m pretty confident that the guides will see us as little people down here and make sure we can live with what comes in,” said Ranetta.

The loss of farmland was always part of the deal for Larry Jaggers II, whose father, Larry Jaggers Sr., negotiated the sale of his stake in the 1,500 acres for the property.

“It’s bittersweet,” said the younger Jaggers. “It was a farm that I grew up on and that we could rent back. I knew something was going to happen, but it was home. “

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

“It’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “If you occupy 1,500 acres, that means it has to be found elsewhere.”

With the possibility of land being claimed for other locations to feed the mega-site and others in Cecilia potentially being used for a large solar farm, Jaggers said it will be more difficult to find land for agriculture.

“It just makes the opportunity to conquer a piece of ground even more difficult,” he said. “It’s going to be tough until things settle down a bit.”

Jaggers said his lease was “not yet finalized” as to what can be done with the farmland in the future.

“I hear, especially if they want to get something done by 2025, that they’ll start doing it pretty soon,” he said. “At the moment I don’t know whether I will finish this harvest in whole or in part. I am satisfied that it is probably just this harvest. “

While the loss of farmland poses a challenge to Jaggers, he is optimistic about the opportunities the crops will offer the area.

“I’m not against what is happening,” he said. “This property, I knew that if it were sold it would not stay leased back to the farmers, but then this is a great opportunity for a lot of jobs. It’s a big deal. It’s 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, a legendary Glendale restaurant.

Cummings said residents are comforted by the news that the changes will not affect downtown Glendale, which is home to antique dealers, restaurants and other vendors.

“To the best of our knowledge, our little Main Street in Glendale will not be touched,” he said. “The heart and soul of Glendale will still be here. There will be a lot of development, a lot of housing, a lot of traffic, but I think it’s a great thing for Hardin County and a great thing for the state. “

As a child, Bronnie Jeffries remembers a time when he and his friends rode their bikes around during the Glendale Crossing Festival. Now the festival is so full, these possibilities no longer exist.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I’ve been here all my life. Now it’s Kentucky’s second biggest festival and some of us old Glendelians say, “I kind of miss the old outhouse races.”

“But we like it when the sidewalks are filled and the recognition,” he added. “This is this factory. It’s just moving forward. “

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

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