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Often, family events lead us to make major changes in our lives.
For Joan Moore, the impending birth of her first grandchild is the catalyst for her decision to retire as executive director of the Carroll County Community Development Corporation – a position she has held nearly five years.
“That’s the driving factor,” Moore said Monday of her grandson, Owen Michaels Daugherty, who is soon to be born to her son, Eric, and his wife, Amy, in Atlanta, Ga. “It will be nice to be able to go visit when I want to.”
She already has vacation scheduled for early November, when Owen is due to make his first appearance in the world.
Moore said opting for retirement was a tough decision to make. Looking back, she said there are many things she has helped accomplish in the community during her tenure at CCCDC, and she has enjoyed the relationships she’s established with community leaders and others within the CCCDC’s partner agencies.
“That’s the fun part of my job, to get to know so many people and what, exactly, they do” – an important factor in effective grant-writing, she said. “This position is unique, because it’s not simply economic development – it’s community development. That’s what makes it fun.”
Moore said she is most proud of the funding she was able to help obtain for Carroll County Schools that made possible the new Early Head Start Program and Child Development Center, which opened last year in a new facility behind Kathryn Winn Primary School on Ninth Street.
Other projects that involved helping children and the school district include obtaining grants for the Safe Routes to School and Polk Street Extension projects, which provided sidewalks that connect all the schools in Carrollton, as well as helping to get funding for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, an early literacy program for pre-schoolers.
Moore also was successful in helping to obtain the Drug Free Communities grant, a five-year renewable grant that has allowed Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County to hire a coordinator and assistant coordinator.
The Champions grant, she said, falls right into a major theme of her career – which began in Virginia, where she was a certified specialist in intervention, prevention and treatment programs, mostly for children, for child abuse and juvenile delinquency to substance abuse.
Her focus, she said, has been on “reducing risk factors for children” and establishing programs to help them succeed – particularly in early childhood. She pointed to a study that shows children in low-income families hear only 3,000 words by the age of 6; children in more affluent families hear 20,000 words by age 6.
“These little guys are behind from the get-go. That’s why these early childhood programs are so important,” she said, adding that building the Head Start and child-development center at Winn “was one of the best things we could have done.”
“I’m most proud of the things [I’ve accomplished] that involve children,” she added, but emphasized that she has done none of this alone. “None of this could have been possible without our partner agencies. ... Collaboration is the key.”
Studies show that every new dollar in grant money multiplies three to seven times within the community that receives it, Moore said. Therefore, the $4.03 million in grants received since 2008, thanks to the collaboration between CCCDC and its partner agencies, equals as much as $12.09 million or more as those dollars are spent on programs and projects that benefit county residents.
In addition to promoting education, Moore has helped obtain grants related to health and safety – including funding for eight outdoor warning sirens for the county, gear for firefighters and security upgrades for the wastewater treatment plant and other Carrollton Utilities properties.
Also, there are grants promoting recreation, which have involved partnerships with county and city governments and concerned citizens, including the Park to Park Trails project, the Courthouse Square Streetscape Project, sidewalks in Ghent, a playground in Worthville and the River Walk planned for Point Park and downtown Carrollton.
She sees a lot of potential in the area, particularly if the community continues to take advantage of its location on the Kentucky and Ohio rivers – rather than taking the rivers for granted, as sometimes happens.
“I was blown away by the rivers,” when she and her husband, Jeff, moved to Carrollton in 2003. Jeff Moore is editor and publisher of The News-Democrat. That’s why she sees completion of the River Walk – something that’s been discussed for decades – as crucial.
That project, in conjunction with revitalization of downtown’s buildings, Moore believes, is the key to continued economic development, because it will help attract new businesses to Carrollton.
But, she said, this can only be successful with “buy in” among residents and the community and “the will to get it accomplished.”
She also sees a lot of potential growth coming from the Interstate 71 Kentucky Corridor Regional Economic Development Task Force, which consists of Carroll, Trimble, Henry, Oldham, Gallatin and Owen counties.
“One agency can’t do it alone,” in terms of attracting new business and industry to an area. “It’s getting to be where one county can’t do it alone.”
She said it’s important for these counties to work together to bring industry to the area, because all of the counties benefit from economic development, regardless of which county a new industry may choose for its location.
Leaving her position with CCCDC will be bittersweet. “This is the first time I’ve had a job in the same town where I lived,” she said. “It’s been different and fun for me to try to do some good here. ... I feel honored to have had the opportunity to maybe make life better.”
She said she also will miss working with Bret Reese, CCCDC’s administrative assistant, who is a Carroll County native who returned to the area after living in Henry County for 20 years. “We work so well together,” Moore said.
But retirement won’t mean she’ll stop being part of the community. Moore said after some time off, she plans “to stay involved. I’m going to take time and decide what my next step will be.”
Moore’s retirement is effective Jan. 1, but her last official day as executive director at CCCDC will be Dec. 21.