MOREHEAD – There was cause to celebrate last year and beyond as the business and industry sector in Rowan County saw the potential for an additional 500-plus jobs.

Here are the Top 10 headlines as reported in the print edition of The Morehead News in 2019:

Hi-tech greenhouse could bring 285 jobs – Jan. 9: A 350-acre parcel in the Sharkey community could be the next home of one of Rowan County’s largest employers.

Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest’s founder and CEO, confirmed reports last week that his company is looking to take root about two miles off I-64 near Sharkey. The $3.5 million land deal was announced in May along with securing a $82 million investment for the project.

AppHarvest is building some of America's largest greenhouses, combining conventional agriculture techniques with today’s technology to grow non-GMO, chemical-free produce.

Stave company breaks ground on 220-job cooperage – June 19: Nearly 100 people gathered on KY 801 North Tuesday morning to witness the Independent Stave Company break ground for their Commonwealth Cooperage, expected to create 220 jobs with a $66.5 million investment.

The groundbreaking celebrated the onset of the new cooperage’s construction near the Morehead-Rowan County Airport at 201 Rodney Hitch Boulevard.

Using locally manufactured staves, Commonwealth Cooperage will produce white oak barrels for the bourbon and whiskey industries.

Laughlin opens to public July 8 – June 26: The time is nearly here for the opening of the city’s “new to them” indoor recreation center.

Effective July 8, the Laughlin Health Building on the campus of Morehead State University will be open and available to all at no cost.

In August it was reported that the agreement between the city and Morehead State lasts until June 30, 2021, and would be automatically extended for two 24-month periods under the same conditions. There is no extension beyond June 30, 2024, except by entering into a new agreement.

Both the city and county are splitting the yearly lease of $25,000.

Splash Pad open and already a hit – Aug. 14: It may have taken a little longer than what many had hoped for, but the new splash pad on the west side of the city park is officially open and ready for play.

“Sheltowee Falls” Splash Pad will remain open daily for the remainder of the summer from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The $1.1 million, 6,000 square- foot water play facility has 40 different individually controlled spray features, including a 6,000-pound tree slide centerpiece, a 50-gallon splash barrel, water guns, waterfalls, and more.

The project was made possible due to several community partnerships including Rowan County Fiscal Court ($250,000), MUPB (man hours, equipment, materials), Morehead Public Works (man hours), Tourism ($250,000 for land acquisition), and several local business partners.

New brewhouse highlights downtown – Sept. 4: Three life-long friends opened the city’s first brewhouse. It is owned by three Morehead natives: Derek Caskey, Nick Hollan and Black Nickell. The Sawstone Brewing Company is located in the former Cozy Building on the corner of Main Street and Battson-Oates Drive.

Plant board approved for nearly $9 million in loans – April 10: The Kentucky Infrastructure Authority Board has approved two loans totaling $8,907,000 to the Morehead Utility Plant Board.

The first loan of $5,257,000 comes as the first increment of a multi-phased Fund F loan for a regional water treatment plant project.

A previously approved KIA loan for the planning and design phase of this project will be rolled into this increment of the loan for a total of $6,554,200.

Built in phases, the project will include a new raw water intake and raw water transmission line; construction of the new water treatment plant; and construction of a new ground storage tank and a finished water line.

Locally machined Hemp Hawk expected to transform agriculture – Oct. 16: A revolution in the hemp cultivation process that will bring efficiency and economy to farmers can trace its roots to Rowan County.

The Hemp Hawk was designed and marketed by A-1 Implements, LLC. It was unveiled Oct. 8, at 4-C Innovations off Cranston Road. The two businesses collaborated on the project. The device was initially created for the country’s growing hemp industry, but it also has the potential to assist farmers with other crops, Max Hammond, A-1 Implements CEO, told thereisafuture.org.

Local investors buy ‘Big Dig’ – July 17: The property many refer to as the “Big Dig” has new ownership.

The property located on the east side of the KY 32 connector and Flemingsburg Road was purchased by a group of four locals during an absolute auction on Thursday, July 11.

The auction was split into two tracts, with 60 acres being the Center Park Development (“Big Dig”) and another 180 acres surrounding the property known as the Dixie Moore Trust property.

Richard White, Darrell Caskey, Phillip Hollan, and Jeff Adams claimed the winning bid of $275,000 for the “Big Dig” and $182,600 for the Moore property.

Adkins appointed Senior Advisor to Beshear – Dec. 4: Rocky Adkins was appointed Monday to Gov.-elect Andy Beshear’s Cabinet.

Adkins will be the Senior Advisor to the new Kentucky governor and will serve at the governor’s office.

Adkins, of Sandy Hook, is currently the Democratic leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing the 99th District, which includes Elliott, Lewis and Rowan counties, since 1987.

In January Adkins officially filed to run for governor in the Democratic primary. He lost to the eventual office-holder, Beshear.

Morehead, Rowan County unify tourism efforts – Dec. 25: Effective Dec. 31, the Morehead Recreation, Tourism and Convention Commission — which only served the city limits — will dissolve. Rowan County Judge-Executive Harry Clark and Morehead Mayor Laura White-Brown will appoint a new, joint commission effective Jan. 1, 2020. The commission will operate under the name Morehead-Rowan County Tourism and promote the entire county.

Other top headlines include:

• RCCA says they’re closing

• Sunrise announces closure of Morehead location

• St. Claire to reduce staff, spending

• MSU budget down $7 million

• Child’s death prompts lawsuit

• $6.5 million MCTC Workforce Center opens

Reach Stephanie at sockerman@themoreheadnews.com or by phone at (606) 784-4116.

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