County development officials tour
Newport, La Grange for ideas
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (July 2005) Reno Deaton, executive
director of the Carroll County Community Development Corporation, believes
that Carrollton has a lot going for us that other communities
envy. Deaton is part of a group of concerned Carroll County citizens
who have been visiting nearby communities in the hopes of finding new
ways to improve economic development. The resulting potpourri of ideas
is encouraging to those who want to improve the visibility of the downtown
The CCCDC commercial committee has visited Scottsburg,
Ind., and Maysville, Newport and Shelbyville, Ky. Their goal has been
to discover workable ideas that they can bring home with them that will
improve Carroll County.
The committee is composed of Deaton, several merchants, Main Street
Director Sam Burgess and Chamber of Commerce representatives. Burgess
said the reasoning behind these trips was to visit towns having
similar geographics and demographics as Carrollton.
The committee has diligently observed what other communities have
done, said Deaton. He cited the town of Newport, Ky., as an economic
development success. Even thought Newport is a different demographic
situation from what is being sought for Carrolltons future, Deaton
thinks certain basic principles can be applied to Carrollton to turn
it into an economic success.
Burgess labeled the Newport trip a fact-finding, information gathering
venture, for ideas that will be studied at a later time. Towns were
chosen that had a close proximity to the interstate and an ongoing community
development program. The committee will study ways to apply these techniques
to Carrollton and connect with the outgrowth of businesses to the interstate
Newport has generated a lot of revenue with its water district, said
Deaton, which was sold to Northern Kentucky Water District. The city
then used the money to begin development for Newport on the Levee, which
provided a venue for light retail businesses, entertainment and restaurants
to locate in storefronts along the river.
Deaton believes that, like Newport, Carrollton can make better use of
riverfront areas for economic and recreational purposes. He would like
to see more festivals staged along the riverfront and local businesses
marketing themselves more. Recreation and business are two opportunities
Deaton said, will bring people to town.
Ann Lightfoot is a member of the Main Street program and sits on the
Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Lightfoot attended the Newport
trip and believes the waterfront in Carrollton could be a major draw
for economic development. Just being able to pull boats up to
the dock, get out and eat is a major draw, she said.
The committee is finding out what it would take to bring businesses
into their area, said Lightfoot. The resulting networking experience
was very productive, she said.
Lightfoot lives in Crittenden, Ky., and has had her corporate office
in Carrollton since January 2004. She is trying hard to grow her business,
Adecco Employment Services, in the Carrollton area.
From the trip to Maysville, innovative ideas were gathered
on converting vacant warehouses into economically viable space. Incentives
and tax breaks were offered to encourage industry to come in and use
these buildings, said committee member Malcolm Carraco. One tobacco
warehouse was rehabilitated by an industry for the purpose of making
grill covers in the old building.
Carraco said that while many ideas surfaced during the trip, such an
undertaking as Newport on the Levee is too large of a project for Carrollton
to undertake at this time. Each trip is a learning experience,
said Carraco. You hope you can return and try to implement (the
ideas) into your community.
The CCCDC scheduled a visit to nearby La Grange on June 28. The committee
was interested in the fact that many once vacant buildings in the downtown
Main Street area now appear to have successful businesses in them.
The Discover Downtown La Grange Board of Directors will play host to
the CCCDCs visit. Discover Downtown La Grange is the citys
Main Street program. City government officials and local volunteers
work together in a community-driven approach that encourages economic
development within the context of historic preservation in ways appropriate
to todays marketplace, said program director Keli Quinn.
The CCCDC is to receive a tour of the historic downtown area of La Grange
and how old buildings have been converted for new use through economic
restructuring. Current challenges, such as the pending Main Street railroad
track renovations, will be discussed. A third issue will be growth management.
The CCCDC will hear from government and business leaders.
who contributed to the many city projects and have kept the vitality
of La Grange alive.
Were flattered that the CCCDC selected La Grange for its
June tour, said Quinn. While we have many challenges, we
also feel that we have done a good job of preserving our historic buildings
and maintaining the small town atmosphere. Theres a good level
of synergy among the various organizations, she said.
Organizations such as City and County governments, the Chamber of Commerce,
Discover Downtown La Grange and the Oldham County Economic Development
Authority have seen great potential in working together,
said Quinn. The group is glad to share their success stories with other
county development groups, and in turn, we will surely learn a
few things from the CCCDC group, said Quinn.
For more information, contact Reno Deaton at (502) 732-7035.
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