In addition to collecting and compiling the input of local leaders, the Hardin County vision project includes information about ideas and projects from five similar-sized counties. In his summary, consultant Luke Schmidt referred to the areas as “benchmark counties” and mentions examples of downtown redevelopment and unified strategies for growth.
Article originally posted by The (Elizabethtown) News-Enterprise directed to: http://www.thenewsenterprise.com/content/five-county-comparison
Five county comparison
By The Staff
Friday, April 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm
§ In Daviess County, the focus recently has been on downtown Owensboro. The Executive Inn Riverfront has been torn down and a new hotel and events center are planned along with housing and retail opportunities. The downtown, which houses a performing arts center, two museums as well as city and county government, also will be home to a new park being developed. The community received a $40 million grant to rebuild the riverfront and reduce erosion.
§ Warren County also is concentrating downtown. Bowling Green welcomed minor league baseball last year in a new 4,500-seat stadium just blocks from Fountain Square Park. The community intends to create a new corridor of activity from the stadium through downtown toward Western Kentucky University. The plans include a hotel, parking garage and loft-style housing as well as retail spots. By 2014, organizers expect private investment in the project to total $150 million.
§ Just south of the Kentucky line along Interstate 24 is Montgomery County, Tenn. Like Hardin County, the Army influence is apparent there thanks to neighboring Fort Campbell but the mission there more frequently one of deploying forces to world hotspots. To balance the economy and provide employment for military spouses, the community began a concentration on developing industry and focusing on advantages available through Austin Peay State University, a four-year college. It’s industrial megsite has attract 900 technology jobs with a semiconductor plant with more jobs expected from an upcoming expansion and suppliers.
§ The economy of Lowndes County, Miss., also benefits from military dollars thanks to its proximity to Columbus Air Force Base. The county merged its chamber of commerce and economic development forces to greate Columbus Lowndes Development LINK. Since 2006, LINK has been involved in the establishment of 4,000 new jobs and a $3.4 billion industrial and retail development. Also it created a 3,000-acre development megasite alongside the regional airport.
§ Lee County, Miss., gets a tourism boost because Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley. Guided by its Community Development Foundation, which has collected $2.6 million in private donations, the area attracted a planned Toyota manufacturing plant and converted an outdated mall into a 9,000-seat arena and convention center plus a conference center which led to development of a Hilton Garden Inn. Lee County also is home to a 650-bed private hospital which operates a 24-county health care network.