October 6, 2009 (Bowling Green, KY) [From the Bowling Green Daily News]
Bowling Green and Scottsville have been singled out by the Kentucky League of Cities as winners of two Enterprise Cities awards. Four awards were given out last week - based on population size - with the winners chosen from more than 380 Kentucky cities.
Bowling Green won in the largest category, recognized for the Lost River Cave and Valley Wetland Project.
“Everyone came together to take what was a problem, which was increasing stormwater runoff, and turn it into this wonderful, unique environment,” Mayor Elaine Walker said.
The project grew from the state’s widening of Nashville Road, which increased runoff water that would then seep into the cave, she said. The wetland naturally filters the runoff before it enters the cave system, and Lost River Executive Director Rho Lansden now enthuses over the variety of wildlife that has settled in the new wetland, Walker said.
“The wetland project was a cooperative venture between the City of Bowling Green, Friends of the Lost River, Western Kentucky University, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private contractors to develop an innovative stormwater treatment and educational facility at Lost River Cave,” according to KLC.
The uniqueness of the project stemmed from the involvement of so many groups, Walker said.
This is the second time in Walker’s tenure as mayor that Bowling Green has won a KLC Enterprise Cities award; the first was in 2007, for the city’s homeownership promotion program.
The awards, given since 1999, are judged on creativity, long-term community value, their adaptability to other cities, public/private partnership, ability to reach project benchmarks, citizen participation and program efficiency, according to KLC.
Scottsville won the Enterprise Cities award for the smallest population category, for the creation of the Scottsville/Allen County Economic Development Center in the former Washington Manufacturing Building, also the former financial headquarters for Dollar General.
“When 22 inches of rain forced the Housing Authority of Scottsville out of their offices, Mayor Rob Cline offered them emergency office space in the former Dollar General Financial Headquarters, which the city owned,” the KLC award says. “One block from public square, plans were drawn up to convert this abandoned building into a modern economic hub for the downtown area.”
Now it houses a small-business incubator with 11 clients, the Chamber of Commerce, the Industrial Development Authority and the Community Development Alliance, a board room and 200-seat community room and 11 nonprofit offices. County and state government offices will move in soon, completely filling the renovated building, according to KLC.
“We’re very honored, for the little rural city like we have to get this award,” Cline said.
He, too, credited cooperation among agencies for Scottsville’s success, though in this case it was economic development agencies.
“We try to work together,” Cline said. “To get everyone coming together and sitting down and working on issues - it goes a long way.”
The other two awards were won by Pikeville for its city park project, which installed picnic tables, cast-iron benches, a playground and a wi-fi hotspot; and Florence, for the Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center.
The nonprofit agency, which serves children who have been sexually or physically abused, or who have witnessed violent crimes, was seeing 500 clients per year from three rooms in a pediatrician’s office. The city sought a $1 million Community Development Block Grant, which local agencies matched with $1.5 million in fundraising. The new facility adjacent to St. Luke Hospital opened in April.