Communities in Eastern Kentucky Move Forward with Plans for Downtown Revitalization

11 Sep 2023


For Immediate Release
September, 2023

One East Kentucky Collaborated with Retail Strategies in a Program Funded by Kentucky Power.

Paintsville, Kentucky. September 11, 2023. One East Kentucky, a regional economic development organization, brought Retail Strategies, a national real estate strategy firm, to Eastern Kentucky to develop plans for downtown revitalization. The Downtown Revitalization Partnership plan was funded by a $270,000 grant from Kentucky Power. “We believe in the power of economic growth from the ground up. Communities across Kentucky have the foundations for thriving downtowns that could become economic engines,” said Cindy Wiseman, President & COO of Kentucky Power. “By investing in downtown revitalization strategies, we are investing in the future of Eastern Kentucky with the goal of having more customers to serve in the future.”

The communities of Inez, Prestonburg, Pikeville, Hazard, Jenkins and Whitesburg are participating in the program. “One East Kentucky brought Retail Strategies to Eastern Kentucky because of their proven track record helping communities to revitalize their downtowns through investment, redevelopment, events, and strategies designed to promote entrepreneurism and attract tourists,” said Colby Kirk, President and CEO of One East Kentucky. “We hope to roll this out with additional communities in the future.”

The first step in the downtown revitalization process involved on-the-ground engagement and thorough market research. Their process embraces stakeholder engagement to encourage communication and collaboration throughout the strategy process. This is done to create community buy-in and encourage participation in execution of the final plan. Recent stakeholder engagement sessions were held in each of the six partner communities. “Having attended these meetings I am impressed by how engaged the communities have been,” said Christi Brown, Existing Industry Liaison for One East Kentucky. “People are excited about the opportunity to create downtown environments where they will enjoy spending time, and others will want to join them.”

With the research and stakeholder sessions complete, Retail Strategies will develop a “Roadmap to Revitalization” for each community. The Roadmap to Revitalization is a strategic plan listing out the vision and path for each community’s downtown. It will incorporate Retail Strategies Five Pillars: Market Analysis, Policy & Administration, Design, Tourism & Promotion, and Economic Vitality, along with any additional strategic findings. Most importantly, the “Roadmap to Revitalization'' plan includes practical, actionable, and transformational strategies developed considering the following: connectivity & walkability, landscaping & streetscapes, public art, historic preservation, special events & promotions, wayfinding signage, supporting entrepreneurs, incentives & financial tools, zoning & codes, identifying partnerships, catalyst projects, and community input survey results.

“Successful downtowns serve as catalysts for private investment and showcase public infrastructure improvements. They’re the gathering place for your community; where citizens, consumers, and tourists embark to experience the unique character, values, nostalgia, and slower paced lifestyle of Main Street America and we are proud to help bring downtowns to life in Eastern Kentucky,” said Jenn Gregory, President of Downtown Strategies. 

After the plans have been presented, ongoing implementation support will be provided by Retail Strategies and One East Kentucky. “Our hope is that communities will pursue additional grant funds to pay for the long term implementation of the downtown revitalization plans,” said Kirk. “One East Kentucky will continue offering assistance as needed. These “Roadmaps to Revitalization” have the power to transform communities when implemented correctly. One East Kentucky is here to provide support and help guide communities through the implementation.”


About One East Kentucky

One East Kentucky is a 501(c)3 non-profit, privately funded regional economic development organization.  The nine county area includes: Floyd, Knott, Johnson, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike.  We are governed by a 13-member board of directors elected by investors of the organization.  Learn more about our board and investors.

One East Kentucky champions the economy, markets the region for attraction of new companies, and advocates for economic development on a collective, regional level. The organization began as a partnership of five chambers of commerce – Hazard/Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, Letcher County Chamber of Commerce, Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.  Eventually, this led to the creation of a private organization funded by the private businesses and partners in these nine counties.

These partners recognized the opportunity to better serve prospective businesses through regional service programs and marketing. Through One East Kentucky, we are proud to coordinate efforts for a greater impact on the economic growth of our region.  One East Kentucky works closely with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Southeast Kentucky Economic Development, AEP Kentucky Power and many other organizations to secure new projects for our communities.  SOAR's Industrial Development strategy is answered through the implementation of programs at One East Kentucky for our nine counties.

About Retail Strategies

Founded in 2011, Retail Strategies exists to build trust-based relationships with communities across the country. We meet this goal by offering human resources and asset-based solutions to help recruit expanding national brands, revitalize downtowns, and support our country’s small business community.

With confidence, we pursue this mission by delivering unparalleled customer service as a unified team to help our partners discover who they are, connect opportunities in their market, and advance the steps towards their next goal.