University Economic Development Association

Awards Session: Place

Georgia Tech – Downtown Development Strategic Assessment

Speakers: Alan Durham – Manager and IEDC Economic Development Course Director, Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute
Leigh Hopkins – Sr. Project Manager, Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute

During the Spring of 2020, the City of Woodbury, a small city (population of 1,200) located in rural Meriwether County, Georgia, partnered with Georgia Tech’s EDA University Center to help a coalition of civic and business leaders develop a strategic assessment to guide the city’s downtown development and economic development efforts. This assessment identified strategic priorities for the local government to use as a roadmap to pursue their economic development and downtown revitalization goals.

The City of Woodbury used this plan to apply for and receive the Georgia Rural Zone designation through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). This five-year designation allows Woodbury to offer tax incentives for job creation, commercial investment, and other business activities.

Since Georgia Tech’s work in Woodbury, the city has adopted and begun implementing the five-year work plan. The implementation of the plan has already generated an impact. The city has (1) added several new businesses to their historic downtown; (2) established a Historic Preservation Commission; (3) joined the Georgia Main Street “Start-Up” program; and (3) become a Georgia Certified Local Government. The City of Woodbury recently received the 2021 Visionary City Award from the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend Magazine.

Learn more about this project here.


University of Kentucky – Coldstream Research Campus P3 Development

Speakers: George Ward – Executive Director, University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus

The University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus is a premier business location in the heart of the world-famous Kentucky Bluegrass Region. Once a prominent Kentucky horse farm and home to the first Kentucky Derby winner, Aristides, Coldstream’s 735-acre campus has transitioned into a hub of innovation and creativity. Today, Coldstream is home to over 50 organizations with more than 2,250 employees working in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, equine health, and a variety of other industry sectors.

The goal of many research parks around the country is to create a live-work-play-innovate environment. Modern office and laboratory buildings plus social infrastructure, including a residential village to activate the research campus 24/7 are necessary to attract young professionals and an innovative workforce.

Through years of strategic actions, the Coldstream Research Campus is achieving this goal. It was first envisioned in a 2009 master plan and remained a development priority as the pieces were put into place to transform Coldstream. Activities that took place included redefining the zoning definition, changing the state’s tax increment financing (TIF) statutes, establishing a TIF district, and developing the research campus through public-private partnerships.

In the past 12 years, the campus has grown over 500,000 square feet of building space with another 344,000 under development for a grand total of over 1.7 million square feet. Included in the space under development is a 260-unit residential village (apartments) and a building with office and laboratory space for growing high-tech companies called the CORE – Collaboration, Research, Entrepreneurship.

Learn more about this project here.


Western Illinois University – IL. Institute for Rural Affairs – Rural Fresh Markets

Speakers: Michael Park – Program Manager, Western Illinois University

The Rural Fresh Markets program is designed to address the issue of the growing number of food deserts in Rural America. It uses a combination solid business practices, community social capital, and two decades of retail experience to create economically self-sustaining businesses that provide access to fresh food in communities that no longer have a fresh food retailer. These businesses are owned and operated by the community, for the community, and do not require continual financial support in the form of grants or donations.

W.I.U.’s Rural Fresh Market’s program acts as a business consultant for the communities’ efforts, providing guidance in board creation, business planning, financial projections, marketing, management, equipment selection and store layout. In addition, the RFM program provides ongoing advisement for store managers and board members to ensure the greatest chance for success.

Whenever possible the RFM program incorporates existing community businesses to increase social capital and provide a greater economic impact for the community. And, if a suitable location is available, a historic building is remodeled for the use of the business in order to increase property values, maintain the character of the community, and lessen the burden of dilapidated buildings on small municipalities. This provides another way for the community’s investment to have maximum impact.

Learn more about this project here.

September 19 @ 17:30
17:30 — 18:15 (45′)

Madison