On Oct. 30, the Perry County Fiscal Court held a special meeting to announce and celebrate the allocation of a $2 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to the City of Hazard and the Perry County Fiscal Court to complete the build-out of an industrial building that will accommodate the SYKES and Intuit partnership.
The grant funds, officials said, will allow for the renovation of the interior of the existing 45,198 square-foot SYKES facility. The project will require phased demolition which will include floor finishes, walls, ceilings, furniture and associated construction. The new construction will include training rooms, conference rooms, new offices and the expansion of an existing break room area. Additionally, officials said, modifications to the existing mechanical, electrical, plumbing and data systems will be required.
Many local and state officials attended the meeting and spoke about how this will further improve Perry County.
“We are so excited,” said Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander. “It is such an exciting time. Great things are happening. We’re doing things people said never could be done here, from restaurants all the way to manufacturing jobs. The more and more people we get to put into it and believe in it, we’ll see more and more the change come,” Alexander said.
Jobs like the SYKES and Intuit partnership, Alexander said, are what will help the county move forward and not rely on coal companies the way they did in the past.
“Jobs are what is going to change here. Intuit is a major partner getting into our community,” said Alexander.
Other officials agreed.
“We’re glad to be here. We’re glad to be part of trying to improve eastern Kentucky for the future and expand this beyond being a coal mining region,” said Secretary Charles Snavely, of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. “We’re going to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and really make this area a success.”
Not only is the partnership bringing more jobs to the area, officials said, it is also putting Perry County on the map in other business’s eyes.
“What is significant about this investment and the partnership with Intuit is that Intuit is a global company,” said Department for Local Government Commissioner Sandy Dunahoo, explaining that Intuit is involved is more than 20 countries worldwide. “It is a name that people know. It is a company that brings a level of expertise and a level of quality, a name brand recognition that will identify us as a player in the global market and that is something we need here.”
The partnership and the funding, Dunahoo said, were made available to Hazard and Perry County because of the hard work and dedication put in by the residents and people who work here. “Perry County is the perfect example of ‘ask and ye shall receive,’” said Dunahoo.
“When we pulled together the list of projects (in this area) that have been done with the DLG since I’ve been there I was a little bit taken aback,” she said. “It is 13 pages. We don’t just hand out 13 pages of projects to folks that don’t ask for them.
“We don’t fund projects on partiality, we fund projects on merit and good applications. Having 13 pages of good applications is pretty significant,” Dunahoo said. The projects, she said, total more than $16 million dollars.
“The bible says in proverbs 29:18, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish,’ that was true to witness here today,” said Rep. Chris Fugate. He continued, “I think today is just an example of what happens when a group of people get a vision to change the county or the place that we live. We are blessed today because of all the hard work of a bunch of people that just wants to see our county go forward.”
The partnership, announced in Sept., is expected to bring approximately 200-300 full-time customer service jobs to Perry County’s Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park. The $2 million funding awarded, officials said, is only the first block of funding being provided for the renovation of the facility, and more will come later.