A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Because ‘Woodford County has so much
to offer,’ new advocacy group springs to life


Staff report

 

A group of Woodford County citizens and business owners have formed an advocacy organization to promote the link between quality of life and economic development in the county.

 

Billy Van Pelt, who has long been engaged in advocacy for quality land management, will serve as CEO of the group.

 

Woodford Forward is a nonprofit social welfare organization. Its mission:

 

By working with government officials and the community, Woodford Forward provides land use advocacy for innovative development and redevelopment of our urban areas; adequate infrastructure of citizens and businesses; and the agricultural use of productive farmland throughout Woodford County. Through these efforts, we will promote the link between quality of life and economic development.

 

Billy Van Pelt

Billy Van Pelt

“We want everyone to be represented in these issues,” said Van Pelt. “We want Woodford County to be the best it can be. We will support positive policies all over the county and provide expertise to inform those policies.”

 

“We want to show ways the community can grow economically and also be sustainable,” he added.

 
The group hopes to work with government officials and the community as a land use advocate for innovative development and redevelopment of urban areas; adequate infrastructure of citizens and businesses and the positive economic impacts of productive farmland throughout Woodford County.

 

“Woodford County has so much to offer,” said Van Pelt. “We want the county to be a tourism destination.”

 

Van Pelt is a graduate of Lexington Catholic High School, has bachelor’s degrees from both Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky and an MBA from Midway College. He is also a landscape architect.

 

He serves on the boards of God’s Pantry Food Bank and Bluegrass Tomorrow and is a member of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Bluegrass Conservancy, Commerce Lexington and the American Farmland Trust.

 

Woodford Forward is a privately funded nonprofit. Its co-chairs are Robert Clay of Three Chimneys Farm and Joe Graviss of Graviss McDonald’s Restaurants. Founding board members include Tom Biederman, Biederman Real Estate Brokerage; Dr. Nancy Cox, (ex officio) dean, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture; Dorothy Curlin, Hanlen Farm; Michael Duckworth, Citizens Commerce National Bank; Phil Meyer, Bohannon-Meyer Insurance; and Ouita Michel, Holy Hill Inn, Wallace Station and Midway Bakery.

 
For more information, see www.woodfordforward.org or contact billyvanpelt@woodfordforward.org.
 


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