From the Executive Director's Desk

After a lengthy 58 legislative days, the House and Senate have finally agreed on the state's two-year budget, a plan that is expected to benefit Kentucky's Area Development Districts.


Within the 2025-2026 budget, there is: 


  • A continued allocation of $3.9 million toward the Joint Funding Agreement (JFA), a measure strongly supported by the KCADD Legislative Committee. 
  • Prioritization of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA), specifically addressing the needs of smaller, troubled systems previously ineligible for funding from other sources, in conjunction with House Bill 563.


Among the legislative initiatives pertinent to the ADDs is House Bill 561, sponsored by Rep. Samara Heavrin. This bill encourages collaboration between the Economic Development Cabinet, ADDs, and community stakeholders to assist local governments in overcoming barriers to operating childcare centers, such as zoning policies and land-use issues. Additionally, it aims to enhance community awareness of available childcare options. 

House Bill 723 pertains to the GRANT Program, established by legislation in 2023 to provide matching funds for local governments and nonprofits seeking federal grants to aid regions, particularly struggling coal communities, dealing with transitions in the energy sector. Under HB 723, the administration of the GRANT Program shifts from the Department for Local Government to a new GRANT Commission within the Kentucky Department of Economic Development. Furthermore, the bill expands eligibility for funding to include all 120 counties, compared to the previous 41 counties.

In addition to engaging in meaningful discussions with legislators from all corners of the state, the KCADD has been hard at work launching an updated website at While certain sections of the website are still undergoing construction, we are thrilled to introduce a refreshed appearance and a comprehensive revamp of the content. We encourage you to visit regularly as we update the site with essential information about Kentucky's Area Development Districts.

We had the privilege of attending the 2024 NADO and DDAA Washington Conference from March 10-13, where we participated in sessions dedicated to regional development, the federal landscape, and crucial programs and policies affecting regional development organizations and stakeholders. This year's conference held special significance as we witnessed former KCADD Executive Director Tony Wilder receive the DDAA's John Whisman "Vision" Award, recognizing his efforts to address the profound challenges facing Appalachia. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Tony for this remarkable accomplishment!

On March 18, we traveled to the Cumberland Valley Area Development District for a Southeast Regional Directors Institute (SERDI) board training led by former Lincoln Trail Area Development District Director Wendell Lawrence. During the same week, we had the opportunity to meet once again with Main Street partners, this time at the federal level, engaging in discussions on funding sources that could benefit the ADDs.

As we await the final two days of the 2024 Legislative Session, we have much to look forward to with the arrival of spring and a sense of optimism and possibility for the ADDs as they continue their mission of building stronger, more resilient communities across Kentucky. I look forward to seeing you in the days ahead. 

Casey Ellis

Executive Director

Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts

Kentucky Association of District Directors

Former KCADD executive director receives prestigious award

Above: Former Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) Executive Director Tony Wilder, center, recently received the Development District Association of Appalachia’s (DDAA) John Whisman “Vision” Award. Pictured alongside Wilder is BRADD Executive Director Eric Sexton, KRADD Executive Director Michelle Allen, KIPDA Executive Director Jarrett Haley, GADD Executive Director Joshua Farrow, LCADD Executive Director Waylon Wright, and KCADD Executive Director Casey Ellis. 

Former Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) Executive Director Tony Wilder has received the Development District Association of Appalachia’s (DDAA) John Whisman “Vision” Award.

The “Vision” Award is presented to an individual who has contributed to making the region a better place. The purpose of the award is to “honor efforts made by an individual to relieve the deep-seated problems of Appalachia, promote systems of federal, state, and local cooperation, and further the mission of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the local development districts.” It recognizes an individual who best supports intergovernmental cooperation, as exemplified in the (ARC)/State/Local Development Districts partnership.

Wilder, who retired from the KCADD in 2023 after serving four and a half years as executive director, received the award on Sunday, March 10, during the annual NADO & DDAA Washington Conference.

Several of Kentucky’s ADD Executive Directors were on hand for the presentation: Eric Sexton (Barren River Area Development District), Michelle Allen (Kentucky River Area Development District), Jarrett Haley (KIPDA), Joshua Farrow (Gateway Area Development District), Waylon Wright (Lake Cumberland Area Development District), and Casey Ellis (KCADD Executive Director).

Our congratulations go out to Tony Wilder on this outstanding achievement! 

ADDs in the News

Mayfield awarded $5.9M to repair flood damage

From radioWNTN

The City of Mayfield was awarded $5,924,330 through CDBG funds to repair flooding damage.

Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan, Assistant to the Mayor Emily Lamb, and Mayfield Public Works Superintendent Aaron Blount made the trip to Frankfort to sit in on the meeting with Gov. Andy Beshear alongside the Mayfield and Graves County leadership group.

The Purchase Area Development District, the Kentucky Department for Local Government, Beshear and Team Kentucky, and Sen. Mitch McConnell made the award possible. 

The CDBG-DR funds will aid with stormwater infrastructure and retention to help alleviate flooding issues along Red Duck Creek. 

Photo courtesy of 

GRADD provides meals to more than 1,700 seniors through national nutrition program

From the Owensboro Times

Through the National Senior Nutrition Program, the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) partners with local senior centers to provide congregate meals to 886 individuals and home-delivered meals to another 839. 

According to GRADD, that meant the organizations served 86,400 congregate meals and 157,389 home-delivered meals between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. 

According to a release from GRADD, up to half of adults over 65 are at risk for malnutrition, and more than 10 million face hunger annually nationwide. Continue reading here.

Mental health treatment center receives $20M in state funding

From the Bowling Green Daily News

State funding to the tune of $20 million for a regional mental health center in Bowling Green was secured March 28 following approval of House Bill 1 in the Kentucky House of Representatives. 

Sue Parrigin, a member of the Bowling Green City Commission and the chair of the Barren River Area Crisis Services Transformation Committee pushing the project, said she is “excited and relieved” funding was included. 

“I’m very excited about what the future is going to bring for our community with this,” Parrigin said. “This is proactively trying to get in front of a problem that’s going to grow as (Bowling Green) grows. This is a huge across the 10-county area, so every one of those folks gets a ‘W’ here.” 

The facility would provide assistance to those in all 10 counties within the Barren River Area Development District. Continue reading here. 

ECTC’s custom training provides pathway to new HR careers

Eight students beginning new careers in human resources recently were recognized. Pictured front row, from left: Megan Clark of Lebanon; Melanie Edwards of Elizabethtown; Talana Smith of Leitchfield; Renita Jacobs of Radcliff; Nivia Griffin of Radcliff. Back row, from left: Beth Cassity, ECTC; Justin Sturgeon and Gracey Vanzant, Kentucky Career Center; Frances Ozyurt of Elizabethtown; Kennidy Edwards of Elizabethtown; Richard Burton of Hodgenville; Jackie Masterson and Anthony Hellmueller, Lincoln Trail Area Development District.

From The News Enterprise

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Workforce Solutions, in partnership with the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, Kentucky Career Center-Lincoln Trail and professional services company YRCI, recently celebrated eight students beginning new careers in human resources.

The students completed a 75-hour training program through ECTC to prepare for full-time remote positions with YRCI, supporting the company’s Federal Human Resources Remote Operations Center. Students were expected to begin their employment by March 25 and continue on-the-job training. Continue reading here.

Johnson-Noem among NKY Chamber's 2024 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky

Congratulations to Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) Executive Director Tara Johnson-Noem, who was selected from over 50 nominees as one of four Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Tara has served as Executive Director of NKADD since 2022. She began her professional career in marketing and communications, working for a Fortune 500 corporation in communications and federal government relations and later for a boutique marketing and event staging agency. She started her post-graduate school career at NKADD, left to pursue various roles in government relations and community development in several institutions in the Greater Cincinnati region, and then returned to NKADD to serve as NKADD Associate Director for Workforce Development and Director of the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board from 2020-2022.

Tara will be recognized at the 40th annual Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky event on May 23. Read more here.

What's Happening in Your Area Development District?

Buffalo Trace ADD among those leading Mason County Senior Housing Campus project

The Mason County Fiscal Court hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the Mason County Senior Housing Campus located at 1675 Forest Avenue to commence the Senior Housing Rehabilitation Project.

The fiscal court was awarded a Department of Local Government Development Block Grant to fund the project to renovate and update the senior living campus. Cottages and condos will receive new roofs, appliances, and sidewalks along with energy efficiency upgrades such as new insulation, windows, and other upgrades. 

A large crowd was on hand March 17 for the ceremonies and project tours, including representatives from Buffalo Trace Area Development District (BTADD), Buffalo Trace Area Aging Program, Licking Valley Cap, and Community Cares. 

DJE Construction, DS2 Engineering, Brown County Paving, BTADD, and others are leading the project team.  

When complete, seniors in Mason County will have additional, upgraded options for housing, ensuring the continued quality of life in Mason County.

KIPDA seeks consultant services in FRA grant

KIPDA, in partnership with Louisville Metro Government, was awarded an FRA grant to begin the process of returning passenger rail service between Louisville and Indianapolis. KIPDA is seeking consultant services to lead efforts on Step 1, Scoping, for the Service Development Plan. The successful applicant will lead efforts, in coordination with staff at KIPDA, Louisville Metro, partner agencies, and other stakeholders, to complete the scoping process for Step 1 of the Corridor ID grant. Interested parties can review the application at

BSADD representatives attend IWG workshop

Big Sandy Area Development District (BSADD) Economic Development Director Joe Jacobs and BSADD Public Administration Specialist Blake Moss recently had the pleasure of attending an informative workshop about the 48C program organized by the Interagency Working Group on Coal & Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization in Charleston, West Virginia. Not only did they learn about clean energy manufacturing tax credits, but the pair also had the privilege of meeting U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. 

At right: BSADD Economic Development Director Joe Jacobs, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, and BSADD Public Administration Specialist Blake Moss.

KRADD Elder Abuse Council hosts aging issues awareness conference

The Kentucky River Area Development District Elder Abuse Council held the Kentucky River Aging Issues Awareness Conference on March 21 at Hazard Community and Technical College. More than 160 professionals from across the Big Sandy and Kentucky River Regions attended to learn about various topics related to serving the aging population. Several special awards were presented to individuals who go above and beyond in helping to serve older adults.

Harlan County officials discuss CVADD Brownfields Assessment Grant

Harlan County officials recently met with consultants from Linebach Funkhouser in Louisville and Yard in Cincinnati to discuss development in Harlan County and ways that the Cumberland Valley Area Development District (CVADD) Brownfields Assessment Grant can assist in that endeavor. Linebach Funkhouser, the environmental consultant working with CVADD on the Brownfields grant, has already conducted extensive assessments throughout the CVADD district, with many in Harlan County. The Yard consultants are focusing on best utilizing the assets, resources, and existing talents in Harlan County to build a long-term plan for the county. 

LCADD staff, board members meet with U.S. Representative Hal Rogers

Pictured above, top row, left to right: Joe Grider of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson, LCADD Executive Director Waylon Wright, Russell County Judge/Executive Randy Marcum, City of Russell Springs Economic Development Director Jeramy Coffey, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Russell Springs Mayor Eddie Thomas, Lucian Wright, Monticello Mayor Kenny Catron, and Wayne County Judge/Executive Scott Gehring. Bottom row, left to right: Susie Lawson, Kathy Catron, LCADD Deputy Executive Director Lyndsey Brown, and LCADD Board Member Allan Chapman. 

Lake Cumberland Area Development District staff and board members were honored to meet with U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers while attending the NADO Conference March 10-13 in Washington, D.C. Discussions included economic development and vital projects across the LCADD region. 

U.S. Representative Andy Barr announces funding for Nicholas County EMS facility

Bluegrass Area Development District (BGADD) staff members Logan Hart and Casey Cash recently attended an event in Carlisle, where U.S. Rep. Andy Barr announced that Nicholas County has been awarded $1.7 million in Community Project funding for the construction of a new EMS facility. The new facility is intended to replace the current one, which suffered significant damage during the flood of 2021. 

BGADD staff submitted the funding request to Barr's office on behalf of Nicholas County in 2023. The funding was included in the recently approved appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden. 

Gateway ADD hosts third annual Spring Fling and Vaccine Clinic

On March 28, 2024, the Gateway Area Development District (GADD) hosted its third annual Spring Fling and Vaccine Clinic, in partnership with the Gateway District Health Department, for the region’s senior citizens at the Morehead Conference Center. A crowd of more than 200 senior citizens, resource fair attendees, local elected officials and GADD personnel were in attendance for a fun-filled day of food and fellowship. The regional event featured food prepared by GADD’s Regional Kitchen, musical entertainment, group Bingo, various vaccinations, resource fair giveaways, and door prizes. Continue reading here.

Green River ADD provides information to veterans

The Green River Area Development District’s Aging & Disability Resource Center Coordinator provided information to veterans at the Veterans Resource Fair/Stand Down on March 22. The event was held at the National Armory in Owensboro. 

Recap: AAAILs host Senior Advocacy Day in Frankfort

Kentucky Area Development Districts (ADDs) Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living (AAAIL) held a senior advocacy event at the Capitol Annex in Frankfort March 7. The AAAILs offer services and support to older adults and individuals with disabilities and are funded through the federal Older Americans Act and administered by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL).

AAAILs provide or connect individuals with various programs, such as home-delivered meals, transportation assistance, caregiver support, and legal aid. They play a vital role in supporting older adults in aging in place, planning and developing services for their regions, and advocating for the rights and needs of older adults.

DAIL Commissioner Victoria Elridge and Reps. DJ Johnson and Chad Aull were among the speakers at the event. Program highlights included Medicaid waivers, the Expanded Senior Meal Program (ESMP), and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Several older adults gave testimonials regarding how these programs have improved their lives.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all who participated in this meaningful event, demonstrating a collective commitment to the well-being and dignity of our older adult population.

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