What's an Area Development District (ADD)?

Established in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Kentucky's Area Development Districts comprise a statewide network of multi-county planning and development organizations. Unlike many other organizations structured along multi-jurisdictional lines, the ADDs have both federal and state statutory authority (KRS 147A).

The ADDs Serve as:

  • Forums
  • Clearinghouses
  • Technical Centers
  • Conveners for the region, and;
  • Provide continuity to projects during the transition of local elected officials.

There are fifteen ADDs in Kentucky covering all 120 counties and 435 cities. Each ADD Board of Directors is organized to include the:

  • County Judge Executives
  • Mayors
  • Non-elected county citizen members
  • Advisory memebership from the State General Assembly

The ADDs strive to foster regional strategies, solutions and partnerships that achieve sustainable economic growth and improve overall quality of life to the citizens of Kentucky.

When and Why the Barren River ADD Was Created.

In the summer of 1967, local leaders began organizing area development councils as a response to Federal legislation. The purpose was to encourage multi-county cooperation for more effective use of domestic program funds. The Upper Barren River Area Development Council included Barren, Hart, Metcalfe, and Monroe Counties. Allen, Butler, Edmonson, Logan, Simpson, and Warren Counties formed the Lower Barren River Area Development Council. Both Councils were incorporated as non-profit agencies in February, 1968.

On April 9, 1968, the two Councils met together and agreed to a joint steering committee. The Barren River Development District was incorporated with J. Ewing Stuart, a Russellville businessman elected chairman and Fountain Run Mayor Robert Eaton named vice chairman. The District applied for a planning grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The grant was awarded June 29.

Guidance in organizing the original councils came from the Extension Service, notably Earl Kilbourne of Glasgow, and cooperative utilities led by J.B. Galloway, Farmers Rural Electric in the Upper Barren and Henry Carlisle, Bowling Green Municipal in the Lower Barren. Judge Basil Griffin provided support through free office space in the Warren County Courthouse. State leadership came from Governor Louis B. Nunn, who established the Kentucky Program Development Office under the directorship of Frank Groschelle. He recommended changing the names of the Districts to Area Development Districts -ADDs.

In September of 1968, T. Jack Eversole, a broadcast news director, Warren County Magistrate, and former Chairman of the local planning commission was named executive director. John Ferren was the first planner and Rebecca Gooding provided clerical support. The Overall Economic Development Plan was submitted to EDA in October.

Approval of the OEDP in February established eligibility for grant funds to develop water and sewer service to the site of an industrial plant, now the Corvette assembly plant at Bowling Green. The EDA investment of $2 million has been repaid many times through taxes on the numerous industrial plants, motels, restaurants, and other businesses which have located in the area.

In the first two years of activity, the BRADD staff assisted local leaders in acquiring more than $10 million in grants for economic projects in every county.