STANFORD — There could be more good news on the way for a company synonymous with its Lincoln County home base.
Stanford City Council unanimously passed a resolution Thursday to act as recipient for grant money intended to help Lincoln Manufacturing — also known as LMI — purchase equipment and expand. The amount of the federal Community Development Block Grant through the Bluegrass Area Development District would be about $300,000 to assist with an overall expansion cost of about $900,000.
Matthew Belcher, executive director of the Stanford-Lincoln County Industrial Development Authority, cautioned that the process of applying for the grant is in its early stages. However, the potential for even modest growth was encouraging for the council.
“LMI is a really aggressive company and has been very community-minded,” Mayor Bill Miracle said of the company that was started in 1995.
It is not certain how many new jobs will be created by the project, but similar grants have led to double-digit growth.
LMI has received two other grants that aided in expansion over the last several years. The most recent came in 2011 when $280,000 in CDBG funds flowed through the county, in part for purchasing a lathe, resulting in a total investment of about $700,000 and 20 new jobs.
There are about 120 employees at the Industrial Park Drive plant after the most recent expansion.
LMI primarily does stamping and other work on a wide variety of automotive components for clients that include Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Chrysler. The company has steadily grown despite the difficult economy in part because it continues to diversify. BGADD representative George Leamon has worked with LMI and Belcher on some of the previous expansions. He lauded the company and community for their willingness to jump through the many hoops necessary to secure the kind of funding necessary to make long-term improvements to the facility.
Leamon said the process for grant application and approval typically take about 60 days. One of the next steps will be setting up a public hearing.
The city should find out if the grant will be approved in about 45 days, Leamon said.
As with previous CDBG grants, the city would act as the recipient, and the development authority would act as the subrecipient, holding title to the equipment. The company would pay back the industrial authority, with that money deposited into the county’s revolving loan fund, which is intended to assist future projects.
“It helps the company to pay low interest for their infrastructure investment, and it helps economic development going forward in the community,” Belcher said. “LMI has been a great community partner.”
Fire department adds manpower
In other business, Interim Stanford Fire Chief Robin Jones said the department has increased what had been dwindling numbers to a level he and others feel comfortable with.
The department’s roster of volunteers had gotten down to about 15 people, but Jones said there are 24 on the department after a recruitment effort that has included advertising and a lot of word-of-mouth. Jones has been chief since early June when Kenny McDaniel went on leave following surgery. Jones said the city has not been hindered in its ability to fight fires, but the numbers were becoming a concern because crews could become exhausted without enough personnel to back them up.