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EARLIER: What we think: A note to Harley: You'll love us

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By The Staff

An open letter to the board members of the Harley-Davidson Company:

We were sure happy last week to read that you were thinking even more seriously of moving your big production plant from Pennsylvania to here.

Heck, a couple of us have been to York, and although it’s not a bad place, we don’t think it compares with our bluegrass-covered paradise.

Some of us call Kentucky “God’s country,” and we think it’s pretty obvious why.

We even have a nearby golf club called Valhalla, if that tells you anything. The Ryder Cup guys liked it, and Tiger Woods will be back there for its third PGA in a few years.

We know a lot of you folks don’t know anything more about Shelby County than what you’ve read in proposals and memos and other confidential internal communiqués, so let us tell you some things you won’t find in Wikipedia or on Mapquest or even Craig’s List.

Nobody knows this county better than we do, and we also understand what you need to know. Generations of us have spent parts of four centuries developing its history, and we are more than vested in our expertise.

You see, our county was so important in the history of Kentucky that it was named after the state’s first governor.

Yes, that is in Wikipedia, but did you know that some of our leading citizens have come from the lineage of Squire Boone – yes, Daniel’s brother – and the folks he brought with him to settle the area? How’s that for roots?

Now it’s no big secret that Shelby County is known for four-legged animals rather than two-wheeled vehicles, and if motorcycles ever start to run on methane, we might be able to help you out with that, too.

But you would not believe how many motorcycle riders love to visit Shelby County. In fact, our roadways provide sort of a stunning, natural road course for motorcycles, and dozens of them try it out each weekend.

We have gorgeous winding highways that split those manicured horse farms and follow picturesque streams under oak and maple canopies and through open country. There are lakes and parks for stopovers along the way, and heck the pavement is generally even smooth.

You come here, you wouldn’t need to have a production set to shoot your promotional videos and stills. We have any angle you want around here, unless it’s an ocean. You could Photoshop that part, though.

Our landscape is so lush and our soil so precious that people from Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort come to live here because they don’t really want to live in Louisville, Lexington or Frankfort and breathe that air. Yet, we’re close enough.

In the last 20 years, our population and our diversity have boomed, and you won’t believe the numbers when the next census comes out in 2010.

We have people here who understand manufacturing and have worked in vehicle assembly. They understand what you do, and they can contribute to your needs.

Heck, our people are so committed to what they do that they actually would show up for work as scheduled and not be absent all the time. We don’t understand that absenteeism thing.

Now in some corners of the country people look down on Kentuckians. We don’t really understand that too well. We are not ignorant people who live on dirt roads (unless we choose to) or stack our property with mobile homes.

You probably have heard we’re building and widening some of our main roads. We have a first-class new high school about to open and money to make the old one match it. Our community college is flourishing, and we have plans to build a new downtown theater and conference center.

We don’t sit around idly even when the economy is throwing us more curves than Cole Hamels. We get things done. You’ve seen that in how we got your attention in the first place.

So that sort of brings us around to this: The best thing about Shelby County, in our humble opinions, is us.

See, we believe in this place, and we understand the meaning of hard work. We know commitment, fear God and know home when we see it.

And we think if you would make Shelby County the new home for your plant, you’d like being around us, too.

Come on down and see.

Sincerely,

The Citizens of Shelby County