New Education, Job, and Business Opportunities for London

May was a very busy month for industrial and retail development in London and Laurel County. Paula Thompson, executive director of the London-Laurel County Industrial Development authority, has provided her monthly update on all these new developments:

  • Kentucky’s Appalachia Aviation Maintenance Technician training program at the London-Corbin Airport made possible with ARC grant with EKU’s Aviation Program the project will train 86 FAA Certified Maintenance Technicians with average annual salaries of $61,000. Enrollment begins this fall and classes will begin in January 2020.
  • Four founding university partners for the New University Center of Southern Kentucky located at Somerset Community College. The universities include the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, and Morehead State University. This partnership was created upon workforce needs, community demands, and student availability. Now, high school graduates will have the option to stay close to home to get a four-year degree at an affordable rate. Enrollment begins this fall.
  • Latest unemployment figures have been released for 2019 for the month of March, Laurel Co. reported 4.9 percent.
  • Brand new to London is Five Below retail in the London Marketplace. Five Below is the third retailer to choose space in the Kmart re-development project. They are expected to be open in late September of 2019.
  • New development coming to downtown London – Block 300, located across from First Christian Church. The development is in the design stages but plans include a restaurant with outdoor dining, retail space for the arts, and locally crafted Kentucky-made goods, jewelry, vintage, and boutique retail shops will also be included. Upstairs living will be offered including a luxury 1,700 sq. ft. condo, as well as others.
  • Grace Health is expanding to London with a new 16,000 sq. ft. facility they will rehab the Levi Lanes Bowling Center located on South US 25. Construction will begin soon.
  • Horizon Healthcare is coming to London alongside Grace Health providing medical services and counseling.
  • Advent Health has opened a new clinic location at 102 Professional Drive on Hal Rogers Parkway. The clinic offers general medicine, pediatric care, obstetrics, and gynecologist services.
  • Mindsight Behavioral Health has located to 311 West Fifth Street.
  • Mills Monuments located at 1670 Hwy. 192 East is now open for business.
  • Dreaming Creek Brewery Opened on May 18th. They provide a large array of craft beers in downtown London. Children and leashed pets are welcome.
  • In the London Marketplace Kohl’s construction progress is coming right along. Construction should be finished in late August and their Grand Opening is scheduled for September 29th, 2019.
  • Masa Sushi and Japanese restaurant continues to make progress on their 4,000 sq. ft. restaurant located at Bacho Way beside Center Target and Walmart on KY-192. Masa will feature six Hibachi tables and general seating. A sushi bar and full service bar will be in the restaurant. They are expected to open in late August.
  • Relocations in the London area include:

    Fiesta Mexicana is relocating to the former Ruby Tuesday building on KY-192 and is expected to be moved and open in mid-July.

    Chris Herren Family Dentistry is moving to Carnaby Square Shopping Center, across from Goodwill. There will be an in-office lab and seven exam rooms. They are expected to be in their new building in mid-June.

    Dayton Freight has moved 1509 American Greeting Card in Southern Laurel County. They provide transportation and logistical services.

    Spero Health Clinic Rehabilitation and Counseling provider is moving June 17th to KY-192.

    Elevate Fitness is moving to 205 North Hill Street beside Carousel Florist. Owner, Susannah Zawko, says the Grand Opening is scheduled for July 1st, 2019.

    The London Shop has moved to 202 North Hill Street behind The Abbey restaurant. Their new location provides a wide variety of unique and elegant gifts with a southern twist. A salon will be included in this location as well.

    Maple Leaf Furnishings are moving to 1224 South Main Street across from A.R. Dyche Cemetery on June 2nd.

    Main Street Games and Comics has moved to South Main Street.

    London Power Equipment has moved to 630 Bill George Road.

New Aviation Training Program

Laurel County Judge-Executive David Westerfield welcomed Congressman Hal Rogers, Governor Matt Bevin, EKU President Michael Benson and ARC Co-Chair Tim Thomas to the London-Corbin Airport Monday for an announcement about a new aviation training program.

The Appalachia Aviation Maintenance Technician Training Project plans to provide training and certification to displaced coal workers, veterans and individuals from rural communities through EKU’S Aviation Program.

“This project will train 86 FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certified maintenance technicians — AMTs, during the three-year grant cycle, then sustain 32 annually,” Benson said.

For more information about the program, go to: https://www.eku.edu/flyky.

Five Below is Coming to London

The London Laurel Co. Industrial Development Authority has announced the third store that will join Kohl’s and Planet Fitness in the former Kmart location on Ky. 192. The fourth and final store will be announced at a later date.

Five Below is a store with unlimited possibilities where tweens, teens and beyond are free to Let Go & Have Fun in a color- popping, music pumping, super-fun shopping experience where you’ll always find the coolest stuff for $5 or less. Five Below is one of the fastest-growing retail chains in the country.

Executive Director Paula Thompson gives more information on the construction progress inside the building, as well as an expected opening date for FIve Below.

U.S. Census 2020 Jobs

The United States Census 2020 is now taking applications for Census Takers!

The City of London hopes to receive an accurate count of our citizens in 2020 to help improve our roads, schools, emergency services, local jobs, shopping choices, as well as state representation in Congress. Help improve your local community by becoming a Census Taker!

To apply online visit 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020.

The U.S. Census states that 2020 Census jobs provide great pay, flexible hours, weekly pay, and paid training.

Kohl’s is Coming to London

Kohl’s, one of the country’s premier department stores is coming to London. With about 1,200 locations, it is the largest department store chain in the United States and will be opening its newest location in the old Kmart building.

The announcement was made Monday evening by Paula Thompson, executive director of the London-Laurel Industrial Development Authority, Judge-Executive David Westerfield and Mayor Troy Rudder.

“I began working to get Kohl’s to come to London in 2009,” Thompson said. “Our community needs a department-type store for affordable family clothing along with a wide selection.”

“We are very excited to welcome Kohl’s to our London business family,” Mayor Rudder said. “They bring with them a history of great service to their customers. Kohl’s and London will be a winning combination.”

“We are pleased Kohl’s is coming to London,” Judge Westerfield said. “This will bring much-needed clothing options for families in Laurel County and surrounding counties who come here to work and shop.”

Kohl’s will be one of four new businesses located in the former Kmart building at the London Marketplace on Ky. 192. Planet Fitness has already been announced and the remaining two businesses will be announced at a later date.

Demolition is underway inside the building, and new entrances and facades will go up soon, with an early fall opening date, Thompson said.

Kohl’s will occupy 36,408 square feet of the 94,000 square feet Kmart building and Planet Fitness will occupy 22,306 square feet.

The department store placed advertisements for a London store manager and assistant managers on Indeed.com Monday evening.

Kohl’s is headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, operating stores in every U.S. state except Hawaii. Kohl’s became the largest department store chain in the United States in May 2012, surpassing its biggest competitor J.C. Penney. The company had $19 billion in revenue in 2017.

Mountain Heritage Artisan Guild Gallery Shop

A new gallery shop is located at 1006 West 5th St. in front of Salon Vogue. The Mountain Heritage Artisans Guild (MHAG) gallery shop features the work of artisans who are members of the Guild that includes everything from painted works to hand-carved musical instruments.

The MHAG calls London their home but reach into residences and workshops in many towns in the Cumberland Valley region and beyond.

The work of the Guild’s members represents contemporary, traditional and experimental forms. They promote fine art, folk art and original handmade crafts.

The gallery shop’s hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10am-6pm.

New Business Coming to Main Street

London Downtown Board of directors and Executive Director Brittany Cradic are pleased to announce the addition of Dreaming Creek Brewery to Main Street! Dreaming Creek is currently in the process of purchasing the former Bob’s building. This will be the second location for the craft brewery. Currently, they are also located in Richmond, Kentucky. The new brewery hopes to be open in downtown London spring 2019.

Groundbreaking for Texas Roadhouse

A flurry of activity will begin after a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for the new Texas Roadhouse at the intersection of Ky. 192 and I-75 at exit 38.

Construction should take about 119 days, which means the new restaurant will open in late February with 150 new jobs.

Present at groundbreaking yesterday were Deanna Herrmann, executive director of the London-Laurel Chamber of Commerce; Paula Thompson, executive director of the London-Laurel Industrial Development Authority; Judge-Executive David Westerfield, Mayor Troy Rudder, property owner Joe Curry and Wyatt Dunn, kitchen manager for the new Texas Roadhouse.

Archeology study at future industrial park

Archeological study finds a “Motel 6”
on the banks of the Little Laurel River

Thousands of years ago, hunter-gatherers made their way through what is now Laurel County and made camp at a “Motel 6” on the banks of the Little Laurel River.

That was the conclusion of an archeological study conducted recently by the Kentucky Archeological Survey on a 135.5-acre tract of land that will soon become Laurel County’s newest industrial park.

The London-Laurel County Industrial Development Authority purchased the tract at the corner of U.S. 25 and KY1006 last fall and named it the Greer Industrial Park South after the longtime landowners.

The archeological study was required before any industrial development could proceed at the site.

“This is a necessary step to ensure the property is clear of artifacts and ready to develop,” said Paula Thompson, executive director of the industrial development authority. “This step is required if you intend to apply for federal grants, use federal funds, or create a build-ready site, which we are.”

The development authority contracted with the archeology department at the University of Kentucky to conduct a site survey. The land had to be plowed with 12-ft wide furrows crisscrossing the property.

Thompson said she had many calls and inquiries from people wanting to know what was being planted at the farm. Plowing was needed to bring any artifacts to the surface. Then, archeologists waited for a hard rain to further reveal artifacts before beginning the survey.

Eric Schlarb, a staff archeologist with UK, headed the site survey along with three assistants. They undertook the painstaking process of walking all the plowed furrows in search of artifacts. They put down red flags when they found things of interest.

Initially they wanted to investigate an area where a large farmhouse used to exist on a road just off KY 1006. But Schlarb said the house had been “blitzed” by a bulldozer and nothing of value was found there.

Other promising areas for artifacts were the mounds on the south end of the property that overlook the Little Laurel River. Careful investigation of the mounds produced one artifact of prehistoric origin.

“We did find a prehistoric site,” Schlarb said. “We couldn’t determine the date because we didn’t find any diagnostic tools, like an arrowhead or anything. But we did find what we call a scraper. This would have been a stone tool for scraping animal hides.”

Schlarb said high ground next to a river would have been a perfect place for prehistoric hunters to stop and make camp.

“An area like that, the best I can describe if I were talking to the public, they were using it like a Motel 6,” he said. “You stop by for one night. Maybe you re-sharpen your tools. You discard your tools and move on.”

Chips off of stone tools used by the hunters also were found on the property, but nothing more of interest that would require further excavation and study.

“For that being a dairy farm for a hundred years, and all the plowing that took place, plus erosion, it was difficult to find anything more of significance,” Schlarb said. “But we definitely know that people were on the tract of land prehistorically.”

With the archeological study completed and nothing found that would hinder development, the industrial development authority is proceeding with building infrastructure into the park.

“We are happy to report there were no environmental or archeological issues found with this study and we are ready to move forward with our first entrance road,” Thompson said.

National and State Accreditation

The London Downtown Board of Directors along with our Executive Director are proud to announce that we received our National and State Accreditation! Thank you to all of our volunteers that help to make our program a success as well as The City of London and City of London Tourism for your generous support and guidance!

Main Street America is a special mark of distinction. It is a seal, recognizing that participating programs, organizations, and communities are part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating impressive economic returns.

Since 1980, over 2,000 communities have been part of Main Street, bringing renewed energy and activity to America’s downtowns and commercial districts, securing $65.6 billion in new investment, creating more than 556,000 net new jobs, and rehabilitating 260,000 buildings.

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