A plan unveiled last week to expand Bluegrass Station with a 2,500-acre industrial park and an 8,000-foot runway is now dead after Bourbon County magistrates voted Thursday night to kill the matter.
The meeting brought out at least 150 Bourbon County residents, most of whom opposed a project that proponents hoped would create thousands of jobs in the next decade.
The plan had been kept out of public purview until last week because of a non-disclosure agreement. On Saturday, more than 200 people met at a volunteer fire hall near Clintonville to discuss the project and a “Stop the BS Expansion” Facebook page was created to rally opposition.
Bourbon County Judge-Executive Mike Williams had supported the plan but by Tuesday told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the expansion was likely going to die because he was the only county official who supported it.
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“The political reality is this will not move forward,” Williams said at the time. “It is no longer a viable project. We’ll move on to the next opportunity.”
The Bluegrass Station expansion called for the construction of two hangars that would be used to outfit C-130 cargo planes for special operations. An 8,000- to 10,000-foot runway would have also been constructed. The expansion might have created 350 jobs by 2020 and 3,500 jobs by 2027.
Many land owners, who would have had to give up their land to make the expansion a possibility, also opposed the idea, including Clintonville district magistrate Mark Offutt. The land acquisition was estimated at $20 million.
At Thursday’s fiscal court meeting, Williams was quick to bring the matter up for resolution.
“We ... had an eventful week to say the least,” he said.
Before calling for a vote, Williams was asked why he had backed the expansion initially.
“I believe it was an appropriate opportunity for Bourbon County,” he said. “My motivation is to bring jobs to the community. To give our young people an opportunity to stay and work and live in this community and prosper in Bourbon County.”
Six of the seven magistrates then voted to kill the expansion. Offutt abstained. Williams also voted against the expansion.
The final vote drew applause from several residents at the meeting.