Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 15, 2012

Hannah calls for regionalism

ASHLAND — A spirit of cooperation and regionalism could be the keys to future economic growth in the Ashland as well as Tri-State area as a whole, according to Ashland Alliance President Bill Hannah.

With only a few months on the job, Hannah said he has drawn conclusions “from four months of looking at it cold,” and developed confidence that Boyd and Greenup counties’ economic interests could be well served through increased partnerships with officials in southern Ohio and southwest West Virginia.

Hannah said the alliance serves as both a chamber of commerce and an economic development agency, and compared the chamber side of the office to a church, pointing out each has a staff and members to provide services for.

“Then there’s the economic development piece,” he said, before explaining he recently used placed dots on a map of the state in places where new business or industry has been located during the past five years. Only one of those dots landed in Boyd and Greenup counties and three were in the greater northeast portion of the bluegrass, he said, representing roughly 2 percent of the state’s new businesses. “In my business, that’s not real good.”

When he made a similar study with dots on maps of Ohio and West Virginia, Hannah said southern Ohio and southwest West Virginia reflect a similar single-digit rate for new business and industry locations.

“I firmly believe it could be a lot better,” he said, noting he has become familiar with Kentucky concepts including “the Winchester wall,” and “the golden triangle.” People in this area have made it clear there is “no love from Frankfort,” he said, while his economic-development counterparts in adjacent portions of Ohio and West Virginia have stated they get “no love” from Columbus or Charleston.

“If nobody loves us, why don’t we get together and love each other?” Hannah asked, adding the three states can compete with one another after working together to get business and industry to move into the region. “Once we get their interest then we can fight over who gets it.”

Citing a woman who works in downtown Ashland, but lives in Ironton and attends church in Huntington, Hannah said regional economic development will be felt at home. Noting the number of area business with the words Tri-State or Kyova in the title, Hannah said the area is already poised to be marketed as a region, providing new business or industry with a labor pool of 450,000 employees within a 65-mile range.

“This is not magical, mystical stuff. It’s blocking and tackling,” he said, citing area resources including the Ohio River, Interstate 64, building-ready properties and abundant railroad access. Tri-State Airport is another plus for the region, Hannah said, pointing out the airport was an outstanding example of local officials working together toward a common goal. If local officials in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia work together, Hannah said the region would also have triple the amount of political pull.

Hannah said he hopes the alliance will also be able to further develop local partnerships, such as an ongoing effort with Ashland Community and Technical College, while continuing with fact-finding efforts and adopting the regional economic development program.

“As it grows we all grow,” he said. “We have everything we need to be successful here.”

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0148.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • guyp-rodnew.jpg 'Uplifting people'

    The snow kept gospel singer Guy Penrod chilling a little longer than it should have this spring.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418star0024.jpg Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.
     

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014