The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Thursday, September 19, 2002

PACRO earmarking funds for marketing, retraining

By Joe Walker

Besides helping with regional industrial park work, a new $1 million Department of Energy grant will support area marketing efforts and a system to help displaced nuclear workers find jobs.

The executive committee of the Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization, a conduit for Energy Department money, approved on Wednesday using some of the new grant for these projects during the next year:

  • Up to $50,000 to equally match private funds raised by CenterPointe USA, a regional marketing organization, during the next year. CenterPointe is developing a Web site expected to be on-line in about 60 days to provide demographics, work force data, building sites and other information to help recruit business and industry. CenterPointe representatives also are visiting key site-selection consultants and trade shows nationwide, and have launched a direct-mail marketing program.

  • As much as $6,000 to reimburse West Kentucky Technical College for staff member Dr. Paul McInturff's time developing a program to help terminated Paducah uranium enrichment plant workers with retraining and finding new jobs.

  • A maximum of $24,000 to the plant nuclear workers' union to maintain a skills database used in the college program. The union, known as PACE, will provide up to $6,000.

    Much of the grant, announced last month, will be used for engineering and infrastructure work on more than 2,000 acres under option in the Viola-Folsomdale area for a regional industrial park.

    Before the executive committee meeting, the PACRO finance committee approved a low-interest loan of $85,500 to 20-year enrichment plant employee Lorn Honey and his wife, Mei-Yu, for a new Chinese-American restaurant being built at 5450 Old Cairo Road next to the Huddle House.

    Loan program administrator Norma Drouin said the buffet-style eatery will be called Yu's Kitchen and provide seven full-time and two part-time jobs. It is expected to be open later this fall in a new building that will also have two office suites, she said.

    Drouin said the loan program, geared for enrichment plant workers, has about $350,000 available. She also handles similar low-interest loans for non-USEC people, available through the Paducah Area Development District office in Mayfield.