Historically Maysville and Mason County have been known as one of North Eastern Kentucky’s cultural centers. A balance of rural and urban commerce supported the prosperity that enabled our local cultural institutions. Since permanent settlement in the late seventeen hundred each generation has adapted their resources to teh avail markets s Prior generations
For decades, Maysville and Mason County have been one of North Eastern Kentucky’s cultural centers. The prosperity resulting from a balance of rural and urban commerce has supported our local cultural institutions.
Since Mason County’s permanent settlement in the late seventeen hundreds, each generation has deployed its resources to meet the market needs of its time. Over those generations, both rural and urban citizens have needed to change their business models, and each prior generation has adapted and prospered.
In recent decades Mason County has lost the two most significant contributors to our rural prosperity. The 2017 USDA census shows Mason County’s annual agricultural income (in 2022 dollars) declined $64 million between 1974 and 2017.
When several large commercial institutions also left our area during this period, local leadership and citizens vigorously worked to create a welcoming environment for new industries and retailers.
Just as we strive to fill local industrial parks and retail areas, our future prosperity requires we also look for ecologically sound and profitable uses for our rural land resources.
Some say the future is in beef, cash grain, or rural tourism. Everyone hopes that each of those will continue to contribute. Even with these rural enterprises’ current contribution, we must acknowledge that in 2017 Mason County needed another $63 million to return to the prosperity we knew in 1974.
If we continue to ignore our $63 million shortfall, we must experience continually higher tax burdens like the recent payroll tax increase or reduced services and cultural opportunities.
The living standards and prosperity of future Mason County generations rest on our ability to do as previous generations did. We must adopt our business models to deploy our resources to profitably meet the market needs of our time.
If we do not continue to adapt economically, we’ll continue to deplete the funds that support the culture and public institutions we all cherish.
This comprehensive plan must chart a course to replace $63 million in rural income not by picking a solution but by removing artificial barriers created to protect the view of a few at the expense of future generations.