GLENDALE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ford Motor Company plans to build two plants in Glendale that will manufacture batteries as it prepares to ramp up its fleet of electric vehicles.
The $5.8 billion, 1,500-acre campus near Interstate 65 — to be called BlueOvalSK Battery Park — is aimed at opening in 2025, Ford said, and will bring 5,000 new jobs to Hardin County.
Gov. Andy Beshear said this is the single largest investment in the history of Kentucky, and in response, many visitors and business owners in Glendale said they are excited for the growth.
"This is just what everybody needs. I think it’s a wonderful thing to happen," said Ray Lufkin, who lives in Rineyville but comes to Glendale a few times each month to eat at the local restaurants and visit the shops.
"It’s just a wonderful little town. We moved down from Ohio, and this is what we were looking for when we came down here. And I’ll tell you what, we found it here."
Mike Cummins, who has lived in Glendale nearly two decades and is the former owner of the popular Whistle Stop restaurant in town, said he's looking forward to the plans Ford has.
"I think it’s going to bring nothing but good things," he said.
Jamie Henley, the director of operations for Tigs Development, Inc. who currently works at the Whistle Stop, said there have already been talks about preparing for more customers that need to eat on the go.
"The Whistle Stop also has an upstairs that sits 85 people, and we’ve already discussed opening that up for buffet-style eating and dining so that people — when they’re on their lunch break and only have a limited amount of time — they’re able to come up, go through the buffet but still have the good, home cooking that we’re known for," she said.
But at least one local business owner has a few concerns. Gerald Lush, who, along with his wife e owns Bennie’s Barn Antique Mall in Glendale, said he hopes the town doesn't become too commercialized.
"This community can’t continue to exist like it is today after that plant becomes operational," he said, adding that Glendale is a small town with locally-owned restaurants, antique shops and gift stores.
"When the impact of the Ford plant starts being felt, I think the community will change," he said.
But Cummins said he doesn't have the same concerns.
"This part of Main Street, there’s about a mile here of Main Street that is protected," he said. "We call it a buffer zone. So this laid back community, some people call it 'Little Mayberry' will remain the same."
Lush said he believes there will be both positive and negative impacts from the plans.
"It’s just a special place, and I hope it continues to be a special place after the new plant is built," he said.
For more information on the plans, click here.
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