The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce recently accepted a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award on behalf of Bowling Green and Warren County in the category of Multi-Year Economic Development for communities with populations of 25,000 - 200,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for their work on the downtown redevelopment project, underway since 2008.
The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Monday, October 20, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held October 19-22, in Fort Worth, Texas. Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch and Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon were on hand to receive the award.
"Economic development efforts have long been a keystone in the quest to bolster the economy and improve quality of life in every locality across the country," said Bill Sproull, IEDC chair. "As the nation continues to tackle challenges in the midst of global uncertainty, these efforts have taken on an even greater significance. With this award, we laud trendsetting locations like Bowling Green for leading the charge."
In 2007, Kentucky state legislators created an opportunity for cities to use a new Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) program to revitalize blighted or declining areas in their communities and Bowling Green and Warren County's historic downtown district qualified for the program. Our local officials and community members snapped into action. The Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority was formed, and 363 acres were designated as the focus.
According to Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon, “Downtown redevelopment is one of the things I am most proud of since I’ve been Judge Executive. Thanks to the efforts and cooperation of several state and local entities, downtown Bowling Green is now a thriving entertainment, cultural, and business destination. Through a lot of hard work and determination, there is simply no better place than Bowling Green to raise a family and have a career. I couldn’t be more proud of this international recognition. ”
The Bowling Green TIF project began in 2008 and over the past six years over 200 million dollars has been invested. The project has paved the way for new jobs, a minor league baseball park, a performing arts center, a new city park, and revitalized a space where our citizens now want to live, work, and play.
Downtown Redevelopment Authority Chairman Doug Gorman said, “The downtown redevelopment project has truly been a labor of love for all involved. We had a vision to transform our downtown into a destination where people want to come to live, work, and play, and we committed to making it happen. It took a lot of hard work and the cooperation of several different entities, but today we have a bustling downtown that is growing every day. I am very proud of this project and so excited that our hard work has been honored on the international stage.”
“Bowling Green and Warren County experience success because of the partnership we enjoy,” said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “Bowling Green continues to grow and prosper thanks to a shared focus on the future. The downtown redevelopment project is just one example of the success we can and have achieved when we collaborate toward a common goal. I am very proud to be honored by the IEDC for our work.”
IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
Ron Bunch, CEO of the Chamber stated, “It was an honor to be able to accept this award on behalf of Bowling Green and Warren County. Their vision and their collaboration with entities such as Western Kentucky University and Commonwealth Health Corporation to make this dream a reality is a unique formula that has proven to be successful for our community time and again.”
About Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,100 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,400 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedconline.org