Hardin County is one of Kentucky’s leading counties – in population (sixth largest) and in area (fourth largest). Hardin County has a population of over 105,000 and a diverse economy which is anchored by one of the country’s largest United States Army installations (Fort Knox) along with manufacturing and agriculture. Hardin County is the principal county of the Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which also includes LaRue County.
Hardin County is strategically located at the highway hub of Kentucky. Interstate 65 runs through the county (north to Louisville, Indianapolis and Chicago and south to Nashville, Birmingham and the Gulf Coast port at Mobile). The Western Kentucky Parkway extends west to Paducah and provides direct interstate trucking connections to St. Louis and the West. The Bluegrass Parkway extends east to Lexington and provides direct interstate trucking connections to the East Coast.
Hardin County is served by Addington Field – Elizabethtown Regional Airport. The airport has a 6,000 foot long runway and the airport board is actively working to establish passenger airline service.
Hardin County has six incorporated municipalities: Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Sonora, Upton, Vine Grove and West Point. Elizabethtown is the county seat with a population of approximately 28,600; Radcliff is located adjacent to Fort Knox with a population of approximately 22,000. Fast growing Vine Grove is located to the west of Radcliff. West Point is located at the far northern end of the county, while Sonora and Upton serve as farming communities in the southern end of the county.
Fort Knox, located in the northern end of the county, is undergoing a major transformation. Long the home of the United States Armor Center & School, and the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, the Post has a daytime population of 42,000 military and civilian workers.
As a result of the recent base realignment (commonly referred to as BRAC), the Armor Center & School has relocated to Fort Benning, Georgia. The following organizations have relocated to Fort Knox: Accessions Command, Human Resources Command, Cadet Command and the 84th Reserve Readiness Command. In addition, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, has relocated from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Knox.
The impact of the BRAC realignment on Hardin County has been enormous. When the BRAC realignment is finished in September 2011, Fort Knox will see a net gain of nearly 8,000 new jobs (this includes military and civilian positions, additional expansions and contractors related to the new Commands).
Nearly $1 billion in new construction on the Post has now been completed – including the new Human Resources Command headquarters (the largest office complex in Kentucky and the second largest in the Department of Defense, after the Pentagon). Outside the gate, $251 million has been appropriated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for new roads, schools and utility system upgrades to accommodate the 13,000 to 15,000 new people expected to move to the county.
The county is home to three school districts: Elizabethtown Independent Schools, Hardin County Schools, and West Point Independent Schools. The Hardin County district is the fourth largest in Kentucky. There are five high schools in the county (including Fort Knox High School).
Elizabethtown Community & Technical College (ECTC), with its recent enrollment surge to 7,500 students makes it the third largest community college in Kentucky and one of the fastest growing in the country. ECTC offers a wide array of associate degrees. ECTC is also home to a regional campus of Western Kentucky University and the Regional Post-Secondary Education Center, both of which offer four year degrees. WKU also operates a regional center in Radcliff.
Manufacturing is concentrated primarily in Elizabethtown with over 50 manufacturing plants located in the city’s industrial parks which employ 7,000 workers. Many industries manufacture components related to the automotive industry and key in on Hardin County’s central location relative to automobile assembly plants located throughout the Mid-South and Midwest. Radcliff is developing an industrial park – Millpond Business Center – and is also the home to Cardinal Health’s large call center.
Hardin County is poised for significant additional growth in the manufacturing sector with the Glendale Industrial Site. The 1,551 acre site, which has been certified as a mega-site by CSX Railroad is the single largest industrial tract in Kentucky and is located south of Elizabethtown alongside Interstate 65 and the mainline of the CSX railroad. The site is targeted for a single large manufacturer, such as an automobile assembly plant.
The Elizabethtown metro area ranked fourth out of 366 metros in 2009 in personal income growth.
Not to be overlooked is an exceptional, affordable quality of life and friendly people. The Elizabethtown metro area ranks nationally as one of the safest metros. Top quality health-care is provided by over 200 physicians and the County’s regional medical center – Hardin Memorial Hospital.
Hardin County United seeks to build upon all of these attributes to take the community to the next level with its various projects. We invite you to follow our progress through this Web site. Thanks for visiting and let us know what you think!