Good Afternoon All,
Thanks to the generous investments by Aspire, the Chamber of Commerce led a very informative and valuable trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky on Wednesday, April 22nd and Thursday, April 23th.
A group of 25+ community leaders representing the Aspire Clarksville Foundation, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Clarksville, Economic Development Council, Montgomery County, and local businesses spent the two days looking at Bowling Green and Warren County’s revitalization efforts that were highlighted in a New York Times article from August 2014.
The visit included discussions and tours with the following:
• Western Kentucky University (21,000 students): Dr. Gary Ransdell, President of Western Kentucky
• Riverwalk and Greenways: Mitch McConnell Park
• Hot Rods Stadium and Downtown Bowling Green: Doug Gorman, Chairman, Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority
• TIF District Discussions: Mike Buchanon (Warren County Judge-Executive), Bruce Wilkerson (Mayor of Bowling Green), Ron Bunch (President and CEO, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce), Tonya Matthews (Vice President, Partnership Services, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce), Amy Milliken (Warren County Attorney)
• SKyPAC Tour
Since 2008, the TIF District has seen over $250 Million of new Capital Investment stretching from Western Kentucky University to their Medical District with focused development being pushed out from both ends of the district and to date has generate $4.9 million in revenue back to the community to use for new projects in the area.
Here are some links if you want some light reading:
Creation ordinance: http://www2.bgky.org/assets/files/CuwT9jbY.pdf
Kentucky TIF details: http://www.freedomkentucky.org/index.php?title=Tax_Increment_Financing
The trip highlighted how Bowling Green and Warren County were able to begin their efforts, create the partnerships necessary to make the effort work, pitfalls they encountered, public outcry and support they were forced to handle, and their overall vision for the future. The program has been an overwhelming success, won national and international awards, and has changed the landscape of downtown and the perception of the community.
While their community is only 120,000 in Warren County and 60,000 in Bowling Green (included in the county population number) they have managed to do some amazing work.
The Intercity visits have been designed to look at similar communities and hopefully spur ideas that can make our community a better place.
I was pleased to hear many good conversations, see great idea exchange, and see leaders from our important entities openly discussing how we can improve our community but projects, teamwork, and hard work.
As I have done in the past I will try to show you how these items relate to our strategic blueprint.
From the Blueprint:
Strategy: Launch an internal education campaign highlighting success stories for Clarksville
Action: Seeing first-hand how other communities address issues and promote themselves is a valuable experience that can spark change at home. Continue to organize leadership tours of best practice communities. Make sure that these Intercity visits are accessible to future leaders as well.
And many thanks for leading a great visit to our Chamber staff and volunteers:
- Melinda Shepard, Executive Director
- Katie Gambill, Chairman
- Lacey Groves, Events Coordinator
Thank you all for your investment in our community and your input as we continually strive to improve our community, Aspire, and your opportunities within our community.