Green River Area Development District (KY) – Regional Economic Growth Strategy
Kentucky’s Green River Region is situated along the scenic Ohio River. The seven counties comprising the region (Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union, and Webster) provide options ranging from quintessential Kentucky horse farms to urban lofts. The region has enjoyed strong leadership; effective organizations; and unique assets, including the Centre for Business & Research, a business accelerator and research facility located in Owensboro. However, by 2011 population growth in some parts of the region had stagnated or declined, and infrastructure investments began to lag. Addressing these challenges and raising the profile of the region required a coordinated approach.
The Green River Area Development District and the Green River Workforce Investment Board contracted TIP Strategies to prepare a regional strategy to enhance the region’s competitive position. TIP conducted an assessment of the regional economy, profiled the skills of the workforce, identified existing and emerging sectors for expansion and recruitment, and drafted an implementation-oriented plan that was used to facilitate discussions with the region’s economic development, education, and workforce communities The strategy identified and provided a unified framework for leveraging the region’s strengths, which included a strong manufacturing and agriculture base, a growing network of higher education providers, and a history of collaboration. TIP organized recommended actions into four key themes: 1) supporting the existing manufacturing base and building capacity for expansion; 2) fostering innovation and supporting the region’s emerging clusters; 3) elevating regional tourism initiatives; and 4) ensuring that adequate infrastructure is in place to support future economic growth.