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Glendale prepares infrastructure ahead of Ford plant project

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 3:57 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Glendale, a small, quaint town in Hardin County, is preparing its infrastructure as Ford announced plans to invest $5.8 billion to build an electric vehicle battery plant there.

It’s the largest economic investment Kentucky has ever seen, and it’s set to bring 5,000 new jobs to the Glendale area, a number triple that of the town’s population.

“There’s going to be an influx of people; we know that, but that’s part of life,” Adam Hale, the pastor of Glendale Christian Church said.

Locals told WAVE 3 News they’ve known for years a large manufacturing development was in the works, so the town has been getting ready.

”There is an adjustment,” Mike Bell, who has lived in Glendale since the 1970′s said, “but I really believe it’s going to be a lot less (than people think) because we’ve made those preparations.”

Glendale already had plans to connect Ring Road to Interstate 65 and the Bluegrass Parkway to ease traffic, long-time locals said. People who live in the town said they’re excited for the other infrastructure improvements that will come with the new Ford plant.

“I think there will be a lot of improvements with our county road system, our state road system; we already have sewers here in Glendale,” said Mike Cummins, former owner of a cafe called The Whistle Stop. “There will be a lot of improvements with greater infrastructure. The more you have, the better off you are in a little community like this.”

“Of course when you bring more jobs here, you bring a giant plant like Ford, you’re going to get more money which will go into Glendale as well,” Mountain Mike’s Coffee House owner Jewel-Beth Whidden said.

The Lincoln Trail Home Builders Association said its builders are prepared to build homes for the influx of people the Ford plant will bring, if necessary. Home builders already have spent more than a year adapting to increased demand and new challenges; this would be one of the largest yet.

“We’ve had some significant projects over the last few years in the Hardin County community and in surrounding counties, so we’re already looking at ways I think that builders are adapting to some of the demand that that’s created, but certainly not on the record-breaking scale like they’re describing this investment,” Thomas Deaton, executive officer of the Lincoln Trail Home Builders Association, said.

While some have expressed concerns the small town, “Hallmark movie feel” of Glendale will change, many told WAVE 3 News there will be growing pains, but the changes will be for the better.

“I think people are afraid of change, and they’re worried life is not going to be like what they know,” Hale said. “We’re still going to come down to the coffee shop and be able to walk to the antique shops and all those things. Everything that people love about Glendale is still going to be here, and the Ford plant is just going to enhance all of those things.”

Production at the Ford plant is expected to begin in 2025.

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