In 2009, the economic development executives of eight (8) Central Kentucky counties initiated the Bluegrass South Regional Economic Development Coalition with recognition of common cause for economic development challenges shared by their communities. From this starting point, the trust and relationships among these economic development professionals and their organizations opened the door to leveraging their financial, technical, and human resources for mutual benefit. In particular, the coalition draws from shared resources offered by Kentucky Utilities
, our Kentucky Touchstone Energy Cooperatives powered by East Kentucky Power Cooperative
, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
, to further its efforts.
True to the coalition's collegial beginnings, the partners have pursued what is called “collaborative regionalism” as a preferred approach that transcends formal organizational hierarchies or inequities that often doom regional efforts.
The coalition targets low-cost, high-return marketing efforts by pooling resources and tapping combined contacts to develop in-bound events or out-bound missions to trade shows and/or to schedule in-office visits with consultants or corporate staff. The region is marketed first, including all of the available sites and buildings within it. After that point, each county responds to a client's specific interest in their product.
In April 2011, Bluegrass South's efforts were commended with LG&E/KU
's Community Innovation Award presented through the Kentucky Association for Economic Development
. This prestigious award recognizes one or more Kentucky communities that demonstrate a collaborative effort to advance the economic development climate of a community or region.
Since July 2011, the coaltion has supported the KentuckyUnited
state marketing cooperative as a top-level sponsor, promoting Kentucky as a productive and profitable environment in which to relocate or expand a business or industry. Nine (9) of our regional partner counties currently participate in this marketing effort.
By July 2014, the coalition had grown to eleven (11) counties, rebranding as the Kentucky Crossroads Regional Economic Development Coalition to more accurately identify the geographic breadth of this region in Central Kentucky.