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.

London Needs Residents to Recycle Smarter

After years of urging residents to recycle and establishing a successful recycling center, the City of London is now sending out a new message: We need you to be smarter about recycling.

It’s called London Recycling 2.0. And it’s a message born of necessity.

The market for recycling materials is in the dumps, so to speak, after China decided at the beginning of the year not to accept loads of waste paper, metals or plastic unless they are 99.5 percent pure.

That’s hard for the single-stream recycling centers in the U.S. to attain. Previously, all they had to do was bale the recycling materials, contaminates and all, and send them to China for sorting and processing.

Now, that job falls to recycling centers such as the London Regional Recycling Center, which has increased manpower costs significantly. To make matters worse, the glut of recycling materials has decreased revenue to the point that some municipalities have stopped recycling altogether.

London is not there yet, but it needs residents to be more careful about what they recycle, and not include contaminates such as food, clothing, dirty diapers and yard waste.

“We are losing all the way around,” said Steve Edge, London’s Public Works Director. “Misuse is the biggest thing. The more garbage they put in the more we have to pay to sort it. We’re losing a lot of recycled garbage because of contamination.”

Steep declines in revenue
The country’s major waste hauling and recycling companies—Waste Management, Republic Services and Waste Connections— have all reported steep declines in recycling revenue, some as much as 43 percent.
In London this year, the decline in recycling revenue may approach 50 percent.

The city recycled 3,957 tons in fiscal year 2016-2017 which produced revenue of $635,695. Projections for the current fiscal year which ends June 30 are for 3,136 tons, but revenue of only $257,135.

“As you can see, we are processing almost the same amount of tons, but getting about half the revenue,” Edge said.

The loss will have a significant impact on London’s budget.

“Long story short, and it’s a multitude of reasons, we’re going to be about $400,000 short,” Mayor Troy Rudder said. “It’s the economy for recycling across the world. I’ve talked to mayors who are baling it and throwing it away. They are going through the motions of recycling and then dumping it.”

London doesn’t want to go through the motions of recycling, which is why it’s asking residents to be more careful and thoughtful about what they throw in the recycling bins.

“What can we do as a group to break even?” the mayor said. “Across the nation 25 percent of all recycling has to be thrown away because of contamination from kitchen garbage.”

London Recycling 2.0
In the coming months, the city plans a major educational campaign to show residents what can be recycled correctly, and what needs to be thrown in the trash.

The campaign will include news articles, Facebook posts, videos, posters, door hangers and other materials to educate residents how to recycle smarter.

For example, most people don’t know that plastic grocery bags are not recyclable, and in fact, gum up the machinery in the recycling center. Egg cartons and foam restaurant take-out boxes are not acceptable either. Only plastic that has either a 1 or 2 on the bottom should be recycled. The rest is garbage.

“I’ll bet for six months I threw glass in the recycling can.” Mayor Rudder said. I was under the impression we can make pea gravel out of it. I okayed the information that went out on it. But it wasn’t correct.”

The recycling center accepts glass as drop-off only. Glass in the curbside cans is a danger to employees and work-release inmates who have to sort them.

Councilman Judd Weaver, who leads the street and sanitation committee, said education now is the number one priority.

“I was throwing stuff away that is not recyclable too,” he said. “If we educate people and give them a little better understanding about the recycling process, we will all be better off.”

Weaver said in the current economic conditions, the best thing for residents to remember is, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

City Receives $3,000 Matching Grant from KLC

The City of London received a $3,000 matching grant from the Kentucky League of Cities to help improve worker safety and training. London uses the grant to pay for steel toe boots for about 40 workers, as well as additional safety training.

Greg Partin, left, senior loss control consultant for KLC, presented the check to Mayor Troy Rudder and the city’s safety officer Rick Cochrane.

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.

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.

A Successful Spring Clean-Up Day

The City is thankful for all of the volunteers who helped rid downtown London of unsightly trash this morning during SprinClean-Up Day.

Volunteers met at the Tourism Office at 9 a.m. and were given pickers, gloves, and high-visibility vests, as well as areas in downtown for them to patrol.

The Spring Clean-Up Day took place just in time to polish the downtown area, accentuating London’s beauty before thousands arrive for the annual Redbud Ride.

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