Development Summit teaches the region about economic growth

Published 4:01 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

The 2023 Regional Opportunity Summit was held at the Boyle County Performing Arts Center on March 17, with the featured speaker being Doug Griffiths, author of the book, “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.”

“The idea is that whatever is good for the region is good for Danville and Boyle,” said Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Jewel. “Especially in Kentucky where we have so many small counties. We are trying to move past thinking on a county level and going to a regional mindset. Not just for jobs, but things like affordable housing too.”   

The event invited citizens and officials from all around the region to learn about economic growth. Danville City Manager Earl Coffey played a large role in getting the seminar organized.

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“It was really a partnership with Jerry Carter and Inter-County Energy,” Coffey said. “We knew that our utilities go in several different counties, our transportation, our financial institutions. What we had talked about was getting everybody at the table so we can think about ourselves differently, so that we can communicate how to closely work together as a region. Even though we feel like different political jurisdictions, we are really working together. We wanted to get everybody at the table so they can interact with each other and build commendatory. We are thrilled with the turnout and we have high hopes.”

Griffith was born and raised in Alberta, Canada and previously served as a politician before he began a new career in 2015 of helping communities. During Griffith’s speech, he went over the 13 chapters of his book which explains 13 mistakes that he has seen small towns make when trying to build their economy and community.

“I campaigned on the need of a rural community development strategy,” Griffith said. “When I got into the legislature, the Canadian equivalent of the governor told me to write one. There are 422 communities in Alberta. I went to over 200 of them in the first two years to find out what we needed to do. To find out solutions, strategies, and challenges. I wrote a report called “Land of Opportunity” with had 72 recommendations that covered everything from health to economic development. I traveled around to different communities to show people what they needed to do. Every one loved it and said it was fantastic. I was growing frustrated because I would watch people do the exact opposite. People wouldn’t change what they were doing.”   

State Legislators were also in attendance, including State Representative Kim King, Senator Jimmy Higdon, Senator Amanda Mays Bledsoe, Representative David Meade, Michael “Sarge” Pollock, KY House of Representatives.