Wednesday, December 30, 2009
A group of about 400 economic development officials from Louisville KY and Lexington KY will travel to Pittsburgh this May to try to learn a few lessons from the region’s success stories. Carmen Hickerson of Greater Louisville Inc. says she sees several parallels between Louisville and Pittsburgh starting with our industrial past and our efforts to become a leader in the new green economy. Louisville officials take a trip to another city every year to look for ideas including trips to Denver, Austin TX, Kansas City and Jacksonville FL. They have even traveled to Dublin Ireland. Hickerson says cities are always ready to show off their success and she says they have never run into a city that has been worried about Louisville stealing their secrets. She says every region is different so the leaders of Louisville cannot take a trip and then simply implement and idea intact, but she says several success stories in Louisville can be tracked back to idea gathered o their trips. She says, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The group will be in Pittsburgh May 10-12, 2010. The itinerary is still being formed but Hickerson says they usually meet with community, elected, education and arts leaders in the cities they visit to, “Get a good broad stroke of everything going on in your community and why it is working.” Louisville’s leaders may leave few of their own ideas behind. Louisville and its surrounding county have formed what is known as a merged government, which is an idea many have proposed for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The Louisville region is about half the size of the Pittsburgh region. Hickerson says this is the first time Louisville has made its trip in conjunction with Lexington. She says the city’s leaders felt it was time to take a more regional approach to economic development. The two cities are about 80 miles apart. Hickerson says she is looking forward to stopping at the Warhol Museum.