Bowling Green is at a planning crossroads. Projects like Circus Square, a new performing arts center and a major industrial park will soon change the face of the city as we know it today.
The idea of building a ballpark to attract a minor league baseball team is still being tossed around. City leaders say those projects and other downtown redevelopment are all strengths that will play very well
with young professionals. But perhaps the biggest key to the city's success is its growing university.
"I think WKU will continue to be a huge draw for companies looking here in the next century. Companies concerned with high skilled, high education workforce and that's what we can provide here."
WKU may help attract intellectual capital, but how can we keep it here?
The answer used to be bring good jobs, but in the 21st century, the solution my be attracting good people.
Recognizing this shift, city leaders have updated long range plans and are pouring millions of dollars into quality of life projects like entertainment, housing and new roads.
But city leaders haven't forgotten about creating good jobs either.
"Manufacturing as we know it today will not be the economic driver. There will be businesses that look a lot like manufacturing and will take the place of manufacturing, but many of those jobs haven't even been created yet."
ITA President Jim Hizer says those jobs will require higher skills, more education and a higher pay out for employees. Hizer says he's convinced the Transpark will the the economic driver of South Central Kentucky in the future.
In order for the city's dreams to ever become a reality, it must keep talented young workers, grow at a steady pace, bring in more high paying jobs and breathe new life into historic downtown. But whether that becomes reality... is anyone's guess.