map of add districtThe Bluegrass Area Development District (BGADD) is one of Kentucky’s fifteen Area Development Districts (ADD). BGADD is the largest in the state, consisting of seventeen counties in central Kentucky: Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Nicholas, Powell, Scott and Woodford.

Kentucky’s ADD system was created in response to a federal initiative begun in the 1960s to establish a nationwide network of “regional development organizations”. Each state has fulfilled this federal obligation in its own way, with boundaries, responsibilities and even the name of these organizations differing from state to state.

Today, ADDs in Kentucky provide a regional voice for local governments on issues such as planning, economic development, environmental, transportation, security, public utility systems and other community interests. They also partner with local, state and federal governments to obtain project funding, manage and administer programs and assist in personnel and resource management.

ADDs operate today under an organizational structure set by KRS 147A.050-.150, enacted in 1972 by the Kentucky General Assembly. BGADD is the Bluegrass region’s officially designated planning and development agency, authorized by the state of Kentucky and recognized by multiple regional and federal agencies and departments. Since its establishment in 1972, it has been funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as a Local Development District and by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as an Areawide Planning Organization.

BGADD is a 501(c)(1) public non-profit organization, headed by a Board of Directors comprised of local elected officials and citizen members from throughout the region. Although a public agency, it does not receive line-item funding through the state budget or have taxation powers like cities, counties and school districts. Instead, the ADD relies on a combination of funding from local, state and federal sources, most of which is tied to specific grants or to service contracts.