McCracken county and Paducah leaders said they want to continue to work together to expand the region’s economy this year but differed on goals they wanted to see, in speeches given at the Paducah Chamber of Commerce’s annual breakfast banquet Thursday morning.
McCracken County Judge Executive-Elect Craig Clymer gave his speech to regional business leaders first. He said he plans to collaborate with Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless on economic development.
“It’s imperative that the city and the county work together. [Exiting] Judge Leeper and Mayor Harless have done so. They’ve told me they meet routinely to discuss things, and I plan on she and I doing the same,” Clymer said.
But priorities varied for the projects each wanted to see. Harless wants to continue to work on bringing businesses to Paducah and support the arts scene in the city.
“We’re going to be narrowing in on a few activities that are not being done in our community elsewhere. For example, recruiting industry, recruiting big business,” Harless said.
Clymer said he isn’t sure if county residents outside of Paducah want more arts support. He instead wants to focus on expanding infrastructure like Barkley Regional Airport.
“I envision the airport expansion to include extended runways, more spec’ hangars to accommodate larger aircraft,” Clymer said. “And why can’t we have aeronautics, manufacturing and service here in McCracken County?”
Paducah Chamber of Commerce Chair Sandra Wilson said she is glad for the perspectives of both leaders and that the chamber plans to work with both levels of government to promote small business growth in particular.
“The Chamber has identified business advocacy as one of our top priorities. So that’s a lot of what we focus on. The priorities that would impact our business through legislation on a local, state and federal level," Wilson said.
Clymer takes over the Judge Executive office on January 7.