The economic comeback exhibited by the City of Kokomo has led to it being named the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Community of the Year. Cities apply for the award each year, and Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight says his city has applied for several years running.
To get the award from the traditionally conservative-leaning Chamber this year, however, was something of a surprise to Goodnight.
“The Democrat, the former union president, in an election year…but you know what? I think that actually says a lot about the Indiana state Chamber, how they’re not tied down to labels,” Goodnight said.
Chamber president Kevin Brinegar said there are similarities between last year’s winner, Terre Haute, and Kokomo. Brinegar said the economic development push by both cities following a prolonged period with a stagnant economy played a significant role.
“We saw strong evidence of that this year and that was noted last year as well,” Brinegar said. “So it’s not an absolute recipe, but it has been a common theme in the last few years.”
Brinegar also said collaboration between cities and business, including the founding of community-government partnerships, played a role in Kokomo taking this year’s prize.