OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Community leaders from Kentucky gathered to reflect on all of their accomplishments, over the past year, at the annual Green River Area Development District Meeting. The agency awarded Henderson, with ‘Community of the Year’, for its inner- city improvement plan that prioritizes projects in the inner-city area.

Mayor Brad Staton says dozens of people have been working on the 4-year project to ensure its success.

“Its had its challenges. It’s had its ups and downs, but on October 24th at 6 o’ clock is when we’re gonna have our final report out. And on that day, I think the community is gonna get to celebrate a lot of really hard work,” said Staton.

GRADD serves the community in several areas, including transportation planning, workforce development, and economic development.

“When I drive through the district, I can see a water tank in Hancock County at Lewisport, and I know that that was a critical to attract industry. If we are in the City of Owensboro, whether it was securing $1,000,000 for Oasis, or helping with the habitat for humanity; We just submitted an application. Our fingers are crossed that that’ll get funded,” said Joanna Shake, the Executive Director of GRADD.

Shake says the annual meeting promotes collaboration between district members and the agency.

“[GRADD members] exchange best practices and talk about what’s going on in their communities… maybe it can be replicated in another. As I mentioned, they are our stakeholders. They are our investors, and we are their extended staff,” said Shake.

Governor Andy Beshear attended to express his commitment to investing in the community.

“Look at our economy, right now across Kentucky. It’s truly on fire. I, now, announce $27 billion of new investment as Governor..more than any other Governor [has] ever been able to announce. Or as I like to say ‘take that Steve Beshear’,” said The Kentucky Governor.

Three regional awards were awarded that acknowledged citizens, current or former GRADD board or committee members, and elected officials for their major roles in the GRADD region’s development.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award. I’m very surprised and thrilled at the same time. I’m really proud that my family was here to see me get this award.” said Franklin Powers, the reciepient of the Texal Brooks Regional Leadership Award.

The Texal Brooks Regional Leadership Award honors a current or former GRADD Board or committee member who has demonstrated outstanding regional leadership.