Officials: Thunder Ridge property holds potential for booming economy

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The Thunder Ridge property in Prestonsburg has sat unused for more than a decade, switching owners over the years, but remaining an unincorporated space in Floyd County after its once thundering time as a horse track and dirt racing track.

Now, Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams is working with Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton to use the space for economic development.

“I’m talking about industry. I’m talking about jobs,” said Stapleton. “Bringing jobs to the area.”

According to Stapleton, years of work have gone into the decision and said the site is perfect for development because the resources for industry are already feeding into the lot.

”It’s the perfect industrial site. It’s the perfect site to allow people to come in here and set up an industry or set up a business and all facilities are already here for them,” Stapleton said. “And the deal is, it’s just been sitting here.”

The local leaders entered a purchase agreement with the current owner of the land, with plans to submit a proposal to the state for an Abandoned Mine Lands grant.

“This all comes from economic development funding. And it’s important for us to get to require this. And try to keep the ball rolling,” said Williams.

Grant funding is crucial for the project because Williams and Stapleton agree that trying to improve the local economy by putting money into its development should not be placed on the backs of people who are already struggling.

“I certainly feel with the change in our economics and we’re transitioning away from the coal economy, I sort of feel like we’re on the clock keeping our workforce here,” Williams said.

Though they said people have maintained an interest in seeing the race track re-open, any decision about the future tenant of the site would depend on its potential to best serve the area.

The men said the process is still in the early stages and nothing is set in stone, but they both envision a bright future for the space, which they believe would also create a bright future for the region.

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