Chamber, state leaders celebrate economic achievements

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

By Michael J. Collins, Bowling Green Daily News

BOWLING GREEN — A veritable who’s-who of local and state leaders Thursday descended on the National Corvette Museum to celebrate the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce’s recognition by Site Selection magazine.

The publication this year gave the city first place in economic development among locales with under 200,000 residents nationwide with 23 projects in 2023. The award marks not only the 11th consecutive year of sixth place or higher recognition within similar cities but also the second first-place recognition from the magazine.

Thursday’s event included remarks from Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Warren County Judge-Executive Doug Gorman, Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott, Morgantown Mayor Billy Phelps, Chamber President Ron Bunch, Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, and Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland.

Bunch told the Daily News the event is a chance to celebrate “the whole team” behind the growth seen locally.

“This really highlights the ‘special sauce’ that we have here in Bowling Green and Warren County, where every level of the committee works together, from permitting folks to our legislators to the governor’s office,” Bunch said. “We are fortunate to be the quarterback, but the whole team executes really well.”

Bunch highlighted some of the 16 companies that announced local investments during 2023, including Oria Health, Delta Faucet, Aerospace Composites, Country Oven and Multi-Color Corporation, adding that the work has only just begun as they seek to continue local economic momentum.

“All those different parties have to continue to come together and stay together through permitting, getting utilities in place helping the workforce,” Bunch said. “It’s an ongoing effort to then help realize the things that are announced.”

Coleman called Warren “the center of Kentucky’s historic economic success” fueled by over $30 billion in private investments under Beshear’s tenure.

“Governor Beshear and I believe that it is incumbent upon all of us – government, the private sector, community-based nonprofits – to work together to make this kind of success a reality everywhere,” Coleman told attendees.

She told the Daily News that Frankfort’s investments in infrastructure, from broadband internet access to roads and bridges, are all aimed at enticing companies to join the commonwealth.

Coleman also highlighted the local chamber’s collaboration with both Bowling Green Independent Schools and Warren County Public Schools to connect schools and students with community partners and private opportunities.

“I brag on your collaboration with the school systems everywhere I go all across Kentucky,” Coleman said. “Nobody understands this better than this community, and we know that if we do things right … and you’re doing things right, we can take the last few years of progress and turn it into decades of prosperity.”