BRADD hosts inaugural CEDS Summit to discuss topics in various counties

BRADD hosts inaugural CEDS Summit
BRADD hosts inaugural CEDS Summit(WBKO)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:41 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - CEDS, or Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, is a plan the Barren River Area Development District is required to update every five years.

Rather than a normal meeting, BRADD hosted an inaugural CEDS Summit this year.

BRADD asked representatives about some of the common issues and themes they’re seeing in their counties, and created a one-day training with several tracks attendees could follow to address commonalities.

“That was better than just sitting in an auditorium for four hours and being talked at, the small rooms really allow for some interaction with our committee members,” said BRADD Associate Director of Planning and Development, Emily Hatchcock. “You can ask questions, you can get that information from the stakeholders, and then we’ve built in networking breaks as well.”

BRADD Executive Director Eric Sexton said, while the group doesn’t usually have meetings on this grand scale, it seemed pertinent to do so given local elections and leadership changes.

“We felt like this would be a good opportunity to bring those new leaders and the returning leaders together to really kickstart our process, as we look at how we improve the quality of life in our region through some strategic planning,” Sexton said.

Sexton also stressed the importance of intermingling amongst BRADD groups, to better help the Barren River area as a whole.

“If we can tear down individual silos and allow people to work across sectors, you get more positive outcomes that enhance community development, to show the growth that we’re already seeing in this region,” Sexton said. “To be able to support that and expand that and learn what’s going on across sectors, it allows a networking opportunity which is critical to move communities and regions forward.”

The Summit also included a keynote speech by Secretary Jeff Noel of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, who stressed the importance of not just working together but sharing the load.

“We have to share the responsibilities that it takes to achieve those opportunities. We can’t do it alone, they can’t do it alone, we have to do it together,” Noel said. “The more that we understand that, and that we work towards that vision that’s in that strategic plan, the more success that’s going to come.”

Summit attendees were able to attend several break-out rooms, where professionals discussed topics like funding local transit, planning, and zoning primer and getting to know your area district developer.

For more information on county-level strategic planning, visit the BRADD website.