From the Executive Director's Desk

As we enter the last weeks of the 2024 Legislative Session, I'm excited to share some positive developments aligning with the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) priorities. Among these, the governor's and the House budget proposals maintain the $4 million investment in the Joint Funding Agreement, a key focus for us. A late addition to our legislative priorities, an additional $1 million has been allocated in both budget proposals for ombudsman expansion, an effort fully supported by the KCADD. 

Two bills, House Bills 561 and 723, are of particular interest as they directly impact the area development districts. HB 561 introduces a program fostering collaboration among local governments, area development districts, and community stakeholders to achieve a "certified childcare community" status. This designation encourages local governments to review and amend zoning and land use regulations to facilitate the establishment of childcare facilities. The bill passed out of the House Feb. 27.

HB 723, introduced on Feb. 26, expands eligibility for the Government Resources Accelerating Needed Transformation (GRANT) Program, initially established under HB 9 in the previous legislative session. This expansion broadens eligibility beyond the federal IWG's priority community designation to include county or city governing bodies and non-profit charitable organizations.

On Feb. 15, the KCADD hosted its annual legislative event at the Capitol Annex, gathering all 15 ADD executive directors, their staff, and board members to engage with legislators and actively participate in the legislative process. We were grateful for the attendance of numerous legislators, sparking fruitful discussions and meaningful exchanges. We extend our appreciation to those who dedicated their time to join us.

Following the legislative event, the KCADD executive board convened for the first time during this calendar year. We introduced our new slate of officers: Menifee County Judge/Executive Rick Stiltner, Chairman; Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matthew Wireman, First Vice-Chair; Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton, Second Vice-Chair; Anderson County Judge/Executive Obrey Gritton, Secretary, and Ms. Penny Robinson, Citizen Member, Treasurer. We congratulate each of these individuals and look forward to working with them throughout the year. 

An exciting opportunity arose in February to engage with Kentucky's Main Street directors. Established in 1979 by the Kentucky Heritage Council, this initiative aimed to combat economic downturns in downtown areas by revitalizing historic buildings and fostering redevelopment. The Kentucky Main Street program's recent report for 2023 showcased an impressive $61.4 million in investments, the creation of 649 new jobs, and the establishment of 126 new businesses.

It was a privilege to contribute insights about the ADDs to this vital group and learn about the impactful success stories resulting from their collaborations with the ADDs. 

The arrival of spring brings the opportunity to engage with our counterparts from across the U.S. I look forward to attending the 2024 National Association of Development Organizations (NADo) conference this month and the 2024 Southeast Regional Directors Institute (SERDI) Annual Professional Development Conference in April. As we count down the days till sine die, we'll also be keeping a close watch on bills of interest while advocating for the betterment of our communities. 

Casey Ellis

Executive Director

Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts

Kentucky Association of District Directors

KCADD Elects 2024 Slate of Officers

The Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) elected its 2024 slate of officers Feb. 15. Pictured left to right: KCADD Executive Director Casey Ellis, KCADD Board Chairman Mr. Rick Stiltner, KCADD Board Treasurer Ms. Penny Robinson, KCADD 2nd Vice-Chair Mr. Kevin Cotton, and KCADD Past Board Chairman Mr. Steve Thurmond. At right: Stitlner presents 2023 KCADD Executive Board Chairman Mr. Steve Thurmond with a plaque recognizing his service.

Stiltner will serve as 49th chairman of the KCADD Executive Board

Menifee County Judge/Executive Rick Stiltner assumed the role of the 49th chairman of the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) Executive Board Feb. 15. 

Stiltner, representing the Gateway Area Development District (GADD), succeeds KCADD Citizen Member Steve Thurmond, representing the Barren River Area Development District. Stiltner's term is slated to run for one year.

Serving as Menifee County Judge/Executive since 2015, Stiltner actively participates on several boards and commissions, including the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) Board of Directors. Before assuming the role of judge/executive, Stiltner ascended through the ranks of the Kentucky State Police, serving in nearly every rank within the agency. His career culminated in a promotion to colonel in 2004, followed by a promotion to deputy commissioner in 2005, a position he held until his retirement in 2007.

"Judge Stiltner's remarkable dedication to public service and extensive experience make him an outstanding choice for the role of Chairman of the KCADD Executive Board," said KCADD Executive Director Casey Ellis. "We are confident that his leadership and commitment to community development will ensure our organization's continued success." 

GADD Executive Director Joshua Farrow echoed Ellis's statements: "Rick Stiltner's election as chairman of the KCADD Executive Board is a testament to his unwavering dedication to public service and tireless advocacy for the Gateway region. His leadership embodies a steadfast commitment to advancing our communities and improving the quality of life for all residents. Under his tenure, we can look forward to continued progress and prosperity for all Area Development Districts." 

Additionally, the following individuals were elected to the 2024 KCADD Board of Directors:

  • Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman, First Vice-Chair, representing the Big Sandy Area Development District
  • Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton, Second Vice-Chair, representing the Pennyrile Area Development District
  • Anderson County Judge/Executive Obrey Gritton, Secretary, representing the Bluegrass Area Development District
  • Citizen Member Ms. Penny Robinson, Treasurer, representing the Cumberland Valley Area Development District.

ADDs in the News

GADD's 'MotorMeals' program turns 1

Gateway Area Development District’s (GADD) MotorMeals program celebrated its one-year anniversary in January. The program, which kicked off Jan. 5, 2023, made an immediate and unprecedented impact on the GADD region. In its inaugural campaign, the program served over 1,000 seniors with more than 6,000 meals throughout Bath, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, and Rowan counties. The truck, which is in a different county each weekday, visited nearly 40 different locations across the Gateway region to distribute meals.

The MotorMeals program, made possible by financial assistance from the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) via Expanded Senior Meal Program (ESMP) funding authorized by Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly, serves those 60 years of age and older across GADD’s five-county service region. The roving food distribution site was established to serve those seniors who cannot make it to a traditional senior center site on a regular basis. Continue reading

GRADD revolving loan fund provides opportunities for small businesses

From the Owensboro Times

The Green River Area Development District’s (GRADD) Revolving Loan Fund provides low-interest direct loans to people needing aid in financing land and building purchases, among others. 

The loan can go toward helping with equipment and inventory purchases, working capital, and other business-related expenses. Loans are available through GRADD for existing businesses or startups in the GRADD service area and range from $10,000 to $250,000. Continue reading

Embracing DEI will lead to success for Lincoln Trail employers

From the Messenger Inquirer


LTADD Associate Executive Director

As the Lincoln Trail Area Development District experiences unprecedented growth through new large-scale developments and investments, many of which are from corporations based outside of the U.S., an emphasis on cultural competence is more important than ever. In the regional workforce, this necessitates a strong emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Continue reading 

What's Happening in Your Area Development District?

Above photo courtesy of

Beshear awards over $6 million to KRADD communities

Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials in Letcher and Knott counties on Feb. 27 to present over $6 million, which will go toward improving water and sewer infrastructure, modifying Jenkins City Hall, developing a recreational trail system, and supporting flood recovery efforts.

Kentucky River Area Development District’s (KRADD) Community Development Planners Melissa Brewer and Trevor Pollard and KRADD Infrastructure Coordinator Lisa Napier were instrumental in securing project funding. KRADD Executive Director Michelle Allen and Associate Director of Community and Economic Development Jennifer McIntosh attended the presentation. 

In Letcher County, Beshear presented over $6 million in awards, including:

  • A recommendation of $1,332,703 to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) that will go toward improving sewer infrastructure in the city of Fleming-Neon;
  • $1,219,000 to the Letcher County Water & Sewer District to help bring water to approximately 221 new customers;
  • A recommendation of $1,900,000 to ARC to rehabilitate the waterline serving downtown Whitesburg; 
  • $750,000 to make modifications to Jenkins City Hall that will improve accessibility for citizens and employees; and 
  • $1 million to construct a 1 million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant at the Letcher and Perry County line. 

Awards in Knott County were presented for:

  • $250,000 for First Frontier Appalachian Trails to help develop a recreational trail system throughout an 18-county region;
  • A recommendation of $2,008,450 to ARC for the Knott County Water and Sewer District to extend waterline services to Quicksand and Saltlick Creek. 

Pennyrile AAAIL director participates in community forum

Pennyrile Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living Director Jill Collins represented the Pennyrile Area Development District (PeADD) Tuesday, Feb. 20, during the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living Community Forum. 

The community forums and needs assessments are held to gather information from key stakeholders to develop the state plan on aging. The plan provides goals and objectives for assisting older Kentuckians, their families, and caregivers. It is a blueprint for coordination and advocacy activities the state will undertake to meet the needs of older adults. 

To learn more about PeADD's services for older adults, contact 866-844-8396 or visit 

Pictured left to right: Shelly Brubaker, BerryDunn; Jill Collins, Director Pennyrile Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living; Marnie Mountjoy, Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living

BRADD announces first SHRM Certified Professional

The Barren River Area Development District recently announced its first Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Certified Professional, Caleb Speck. "Caleb works hard to improve the overall employee experience at BRADD," said BRADD Executive Director Eric Sexton. "This credential will help BRADD maintain high standards of employee engagement and culture. Congratulations, Caleb!" 

KIPDA to assist Trimble County with cybersecurity grant

Trimble County received preliminary approval for a grant from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity grant program. Funds will be used to manage risks to the county’s IT infrastructure, including updated equipment, monitoring, cloud backups, application licensing, and security awareness training for county employees. KIPDA will assist in project administration. 

CVADD announces 2024 board officers

The Cumberland Valley Area Development District Board of Directors has a new roster of officers. Pictured left to right: Treasurer John Ed Pennington, Member-at-Large (Clay County); Chairman Scott Madon, Pineville Mayor (Bell County), Second Vice-Chair Mike Mitchell, Knox County Judge/Executive, and First Vice-Chair Howell Holbrook, Rockcastle County Judge/Executive. Not pictured: Secretary Gary Barton, Whitley County Circuit Court Clerk. 

Thomas to serve as LCADD board chair

Eddie Thomas, who has served as the mayor of Russell Springs since 2018, will serve as chairman of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District (LCADD) for the coming year.

Recap: ADD Day in Frankfort deemed a success

The Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts hosted its annual legislative event at the Capitol Annex Feb. 15. All 15 of the state's Area Development Districts were well represented by their respective executive directors, staff, and board members. Our thanks to all who attended!

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