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Developers of Garvin’s, a proposed southern Kentucky RV mecca, are continuing to push for approval of a tax incentive to lure outdoor outfitter Cabela’s to the 900-acre RV-oriented park being developed on I-65.
Although the tax incentive package failed to get out of committee during the Kentucky General Assembly’s regular session, developer David B. Garvin said the prospects are better during a special legislative session that Gov. Ernie Fletcher is expected to call within weeks to provide tax relief to small businesses.
“The first time, people added all sorts of amendments to the bill, so it didn’t go anywhere,” said Garvin of Bowling Green, Ky., founder of RV accessories retailer Camping World. “We’ve been with all the legislators and we think that during the special session it will be different.”
Meanwhile, Garvin said ground would be broken by early July on an “RV center” that will be among the key attractions at the park and will contain a service center and display area for RVs. Plans also call for a Camping World store, decorating center, detail shop, fueling station and “free-range” dry camping for RVers for up to 30 days.
Long-range plans for Garvin’s project, located 35 miles north of Nashville, also include hotels, restaurants and a 20-story ferris wheel with climate-controlled eight-passenger gondolas.
Garvin said it’s not likely that Cabela’s, with a potential investment in the park of upwards of $40 million, would build a store at Garvin’s without the tax incentive.
Although site preparation is continuing at the park, which the city of Franklin, Ky., annexed last year, final plans remain in limbo. “We are basically waiting for Cabela’s because they haven’t decided exactly where on the property they want to be,” Garvin said.
The state of Kentucky already has invested in infrastructure around Garvin’s by adding lanes to I-65 and the ramp system to Ky. 100, which also will be widened from two lanes to seven lanes for about a half-mile beyond Garvin’s main entrance. ”That will be happening this summer,” Garvin said.