Event to focus on tourism, downtown revitalization

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2022

ASHLAND, Ky. — Thanks to sponsors such as Kentucky Power, Ashland will be host to an event aiming to bring together local residents and business, elected officials, nonprofit leaders and others leading change across our region and Appalachia.

Led by SOAR, a regional nonprofit that focuses on local projects, programs and advocacy, they aim to fill the economic gaps left by the decline of the coal industry by bringing our communities together to achieve that goal.

“We can’t wait to be in Ashland on March 7 and 8 to discuss tourism and downtown revitalization in Eastern Kentucky,” said Colby Hall, executive director of SOAR. “The pandemic in many ways has opened new doors for our region, and tourism is one of them. We can’t wait to join with others from Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties to talk about strategies and plans to bring in more people and money in 2022 and beyond.”

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The event will focus on tourism and downtown revitalization. There will be “sessions on Trail Tourism and Entrepreneurship and Tourism, as well as breakout sessions that will provide information and best practices that would be beneficial to any community,” said Joshua Ball, chief operating officer at SOAR, who noted that there were registrants from southern Ohio and West Virginia ready to join in the conversation.

Four breakout sessions will be held on the morning of March 8. They are designed to address challenges and celebrate opportunities across the region related to issues pertaining to tourism and downtown revitalization.

“We are thrilled to be launching new topic-specific events across the region,” said Ball. “This not only allows us to host events in new communities, but it also allows us the opportunity to drill down on specific topics, share best practices, and create a stage for communities and projects to shine.”

Sessions will take place in various locations, including Delta Hotel, Ashland Train Depot and Paramount Arts Center. Those who register will also be admitted to the Country Music Highway Tribute Show at the Paramount Arts Center, during which artists from across the region will celebrate the stars of the Country Music Highway.

For more information on the SOAR Mini Summit, visit www.soar-ky.org/summit/.