BY ANDREA TORTORA
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FALMOUTH, Ky. - A $3.2 million industrial project will bring at least 50 new jobs to Pendleton County - a healthy dose of hope for this town sick with sorrow.
The deal with ATK North America - a global company specializing in rebuilt gasoline engines - also will help start a revolving loan fund for economic development, Jack Wright, county economic development director, said Monday.
A $1 million Community Development Block Grant approved March 4 opens the door to more money from the state. The county and ATK also have applied for state tax incentives.
The news is just what officials say they need to help persuade flood survivors to stay in the county.
''Naturally right now, a lot of people who were employed downtown have no jobs,'' Falmouth Councilman Anthony Strong said. ''We want to meet with everyone to talk about options. What's available and what we've got in mind.''
Community leaders don't want residents to flee before taking stock of what can be done. State building inspectors have labeled 300 structures for demolition. About 250 buildings suffered major damage; 50 others have minor damage.
Future plans - including available money - will be discussed at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Pendleton County Middle School.
Ideas do not include one circulated Sunday by the Cincinnati Regional Development Corp. calling for the creation of a new Falmouth as an 1840s Kentucky settlement, several city and county officials said.
''The last thing people here need is a pipe-dream idea like that,'' Mr. Wright said. ''We have thousands of people breaking their backs salvaging anything they can out of their lives, and this is not the time or place for that.''
ATK Manufacturing will locate on U.S. 27 at Robbins Street. The company is relocating raw materials and processing operations now in Phoenix and warranty offices in Santa Ana, Calif.
The project includes a 000-square-foot facility to be built on 10 acres in the proposed Pendleton Industrial Park.
Provisions of the $1 million block require at least half of all new employees to come from low- to middle-income families.
Of the $1 million, $513,000 will be used for off-site development of access roads and utilities. The rest will serve as a low-interest loan to ATK for land acquisition and construction.
ATK will repay that money to the county, which will use the funds to create economic development loans for other businesses.
Officials are asking persons wishing to help Falmouth and Pendleton County to donate money to the Falmouth Flood Disaster Relief Fund, Box 213, Falmouth 41040. Contributions can be made by calling (888) 392-0330 toll-free.