The Center for Rural Development celebrates its 20th anniversary

Published: Dec. 12, 2016 at 4:08 PM EST
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The Center for Rural Development is celebrating 20 years of serving Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Leaders established the Center in 1996 as a way to help with economic development in the region through various programs and initiatives.

On Monday, the organization celebrated its 20th anniversary. Crowds gathered in Somerset to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.

U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers and the Center's President and CEO Lonnie Lawson said this anniversary is special because an idea they had from the beginning is finally becoming a reality. A hotel is opening on the Center's property.

"We've worked on this a long time," Lawson said. "We had a lot of challenges we had to overcome, but for this to finally become a reality, it is just absolutely incredible."

Rep. Rogers said in his many years serving as a lawmaker, the Center is his greatest accomplishment.

"Because it gives regular people the chance, the idea, and place to talk about ideas they would like to see for the region ... to try to pull together the counties around these common causes ... people thinking their own future," Rogers said.

The Courtyard by Marriott is set to open on the property mid-January with a grand opening in March. We are told a group of 350 people is already booked to stay at the hotel.