Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

The FY-2017 “Comprehensive Economic Development Plan” for the Lake Cumberland Area Development District serves as a road map for the development of the region. The document takes a broad look at where we are today, and where we have been, and then helps to lay out a path toward where we want to be in the next five or ten years. While primarily an economic development tool, the CEDS is a comprehensive look at the region, and provides strategies to improve all aspects of regional livability.

The CEDS is developed through a joint funding agreement with the Economic Development Administration. The CEDS is rewritten every five years, with updates done every year in between. The document serves all ten counties and fourteen municipalities within the Lake Cumberland Area Development District.

Following the 2009 recession, the economy of the Lake Cumberland ADD region saw a strong and steady decade-long improvement. From a high of 14% in 2010, the unemployment rate decreased to 5% by February, 2020. During this decade, incomes increased, employment opportunities expanded, and positive growth was evident throughout the region. Then came the Covid 19 pandemic. In a matter of two months, the unemployment rate sky-rocketed to 16.3%, primarily fueled by the mandatory lockdowns in April and May. The number of persons unemployed rebounded after restrictions were lifted, but have yet to reach the low levels attained pre-pandemic. As cases are once again climbing, additional impacts are likely to be felt within the region.

The Covid 19 pandemic has also had dramatic effects on the area well beyond weakening the economy, Nearly every business, institution, and citizen has been affected to a certain extent. School systems are having to rethink how to safely and effectively educate students, medical facilities and public utilities have become strained financially, jails and long term care facilities have been ravaged, and social services have had to retool their models for service delivery. Nothing has been left untouched by the virus.

In order to better deal with the current pandemic, as well as any other future crisis, the Lake Cumberland ADD will develop a Regional Economic Disaster Recovery Plan. This plan shall examine the economy, education, healthcare, aging services, tourism, government, and public protections. The plan will examine the impacts on each sector, lay out mitigation strategies, and determine what assets are needed to lessen the severity of future economic and societal shocks. This plan will be incorporated into the CEDS and updated as the need arises.

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