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MPA Students Tour Louisville to Learn Economic Development Policy

(L to R) Saul Wright, Brandy Warner, Takisha Mack, Rebecca Matheny, Liliana Gomez de Coss, and Jack Newton.

In February, MPA students in Dr. Wilson’s Local Economic Development class spent the day in Louisville to learn about the city’s vibrant economy and the policies that help sustain it.  

The students started their day with a breakfast meeting with Rebecca Matheny, Executive Director of Louisville Downtown Partnership (LDP).  She and Jack Newton, Project Manager for LDP, discussed the history of downtown Louisville, economic development and planning tools used to encourage development, the $1.2 billion dollars of current construction, and the economic future of Louisville.  

Later, the students were given a walking tour of Louisville’s 4th Street corridor, a major hotspot for development.  During the walking tour they saw the renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center, the building of the Omni Hotel, and the Old Forester Distillery and Visitors Center.  

In the afternoon, students met with Louisville’s Director of Economic Development, Scott Herrmann and Innovation Project Manager, Ed Blayney.  Both discussed the importance of using data to inform and influence government policy, using innovation to modernize local government, and being progressive and forward thinking.  

During the trip, students were encouraged to take notes and ask questions of our speakers.  They will write a 4-page reflective paper on the experience and the lessons of economic development they learned from the experts.  

Dr. Wilson and the students would like to thank Jack Newton for arranging the meetings, the Downtown Louisville Partnership, Louisville’s Economic and Community Development Office (Forward Louisville), and Louisville’s Office of Performance Improvement & Innovation Team.

To learn more about economic development in Louisville, please visit and

Published on March 10, 2017

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