Future of Richmond-Berea Economic Plan Receives Mixed Reviews
A Madison County official worries a just-released economic development plan for Madison County lacks on-the-ground support. Berea Mayor Steve Connelly says there could be a problem turning recommendations into action, saying most people never took notice, “There was never a conversation of people who would do anything.” He went on to say, “We have a plan but we don't have any implementers.” Connelly went on to express his skepticism about the plan.
The Mayor says the two communities of Berea and Richmond can work together, but, more on-the-ground support is needed to accomplish real economic change.
Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes says “data and desire" are both required to move from words to action. He says an example of potential collaboration could involve dealing with local drug issues. "I've said all along, the city of Richmond would commit five police officers, if the county would commit five sheriffs and Berea five police officers and have a drug task force and that's all they do, and that's doable.” Barnes continued, “You've got to bring those people in and let them work through the process. What we do is, we get them in, we step back and let them do the job.”
The report's 12 primary recommendations include hiring an agribusiness coordinator, establishing a campus of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in Madison County, and marketing the region as an arts destination.