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$1.4 Million Approved for a Site Development Plan at 4-Star Industrial Park Through Kentucky Product Development Initiative

The Sandy Lee Watkins site will have an approximately one million-square-foot building pad project completion.

Henderson, Ky. (June 29, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the West Kentucky Regional Industrial Development Authority’s (WKRIDA) approval for $1.4 million to complete a grading plan at the Sandy Lee Watkins site. The site is in 4-Star Industrial Park within the Henderson Economic Development (HED) region of northwest Kentucky.

The project is to grade an approximately one million-square-foot building pad at the Sandy Lee Watkins site. In total, the site is 102 acres, owned by the WKRIDA. The WKRIDA is made up of representatives from Henderson, McLean, Union, and Webster counties.

The approved engineering plan consists of three phases. Phase one services include planning and funding for the project. Phase two includes preparation of the final construction drawings. Phase three includes construction inspections to submit the site for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s “Build-Ready” certification.

Upon completion of the project, the Sandy Lee Watkins site will be the largest, certified Build-Ready pad in Kentucky. All Build-Ready sites must meet a set of standards to qualify for the certification.

The Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI), housed under the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, funds up to 50% of the project, and the remainder is being funded by the WKRIDA.

Missy Vanderpool, Executive Director for Henderson Economic Development, expressed the need for a site development plan as companies continue to locate in Kentucky.

“We are thrilled for this project to get underway. Site-readiness is a key factor in the site selection process. Having a one million-square-foot “Build-Ready” Pad will give us a great advantage in attracting new industry to our region,” Vanderpool said.

Site visits occur regularly at the Sandy Lee Watkins site; however, the existing slope deters potential clients because speed to market is a priority. The approved grading plan removes the slope and levels the building pad. When a client chooses the site in the future, they can immediately start the building process.

Henderson County Judge/Executive Brad Schneider is appreciative of the KPDI program’s effort to continue economic growth in the community.

“Many thanks to the Kentucky General Assembly, the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, KAED and Gov. Beshear for partnering to create the PDI program. The build-ready pad that will be created at 4 Star Industrial Park would not have been possible without this $700,000 PDI grant,” Schneider said. We believe the building of the pad will result in exactly what the PDI project was formed to do: lure new industries to Kentucky and create new, good-paying jobs for its citizens. I look forward to cutting the ribbon on the new manufacturing facility the build-ready pad will surely bring. That day will not only be a victory for our county and the region, but also a win for PDI,” Schneider said.

Steve Whitsell, WKRIDA Chairman, spoke about the support during the approval process.

“The WKRIDA is excited to start this project to further development in 4-Star Industrial Park. We could not do this without support from all the counties involved and our partners at the state level. We hope to see an increase in business attraction after the grading plan is finished at the Sandy Lee Watkins Site,” said Whitsell.

The 4-Star Industrial Park exists for business expansion, business attraction and job creation. This project will generate an increase in economic development and workforce opportunities for Henderson residents.

In 2022, HED announced a total of $548 million in investment from new and existing industries:

  • Pratt Paper – 320 jobs
  • Columbia Brands USA – 175 jobs
  • Greenfield – 15 jobs
  • Sitex – 30 jobs
  • Accuride – 15 jobs

In 2023, so far, HED has announced a total of $40 million in investment from new industries:

  • Riverview Coal – 260 jobs
  • Henderson Distilling Co. – 12 jobs

To meet the current demands of the workforce, HED launched a “Choose Henderson” talent attraction campaign to attract workforce participants in surrounding areas. Visit to see job and community opportunities in Henderson.

Henderson Economic Development – Facilitating economic development and job growth in Henderson, KY.  For more information visit,  or call 270.854.9455.