Acknowledging the Louisville Metro Economic Development Department for its innovative program, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) will present its Neighborhood Development Initiatives award to the Louisville, Kentucky-based entity at IEDC's Annual Conference, which is scheduled to take place in Atlanta, Georgia, October 19-22. The organization will be noticed for this achievement during an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 21st.
"Economic development efforts have long been a keystone in the quest to bolster the economy and improve quality of life in every locality across the country," said Robin Roberts Krieger, IEDC chair. "As the nation continues to tackle longstanding challenges in the midst of an inhospitable financial climate, these efforts have taken on an even greater significance. With the award, we laud trendsetting organizations like Louisville Metro for leading the charge."
Competing in the category of Neighborhood Development Initiatives by organizations serving areas with populations exceeding 200,000, Louisville Metro was a clear standout with Corridors of Opportunity in Louisville (COOL). COOL was created in January 2003 by newly elected Mayor Jerry Abramson, as part of the newly merged government combining the City of Louisville and Jefferson County. Prior to merger, candidate Abramson listened to residents across the region calling for new retail outlets, stores, restaurants, services, community centers and other neighborhood amenities. Mayor Abramson responded by creating a retail-focused economic development initiative to attract retail businesses to area neighborhoods and corridors that had not had retail and to spaces that had been left vacant.
The program's mission, to encourage and facilitate retail development along Louisville Metro's corridors, integrate--for the first time--retail development within the community's overall economic development efforts. COOL staff offers information including site selection assistance and demographic consultation, and provides "on-the ground" knowledge. They also help businesses and developers navigate the regulatory process to meet planning and design requirements.
The program administers a variety of loan programs and incentives for prospective clients, including micro loans ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 for start up businesses and small business loans of up to $100,000 in gap financing. Other loans include small and disadvantaged business loans, and forgivable, façade, and accessibility loans.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is headquartered in Washington, DC. Its mission is to provide leadership and excellence in economic development for communities, members and partners. IEDC's professional economic development awards annually recognize excellence in the economic development profession.