Madison County

Richmond picked to host international conference

RICHMOND — Richmond has been picked to host an international conference next year that will attract people from all over the world to discuss relations between universities and cities.

The International Town and Gown Association will hold its seventh annual University/City Relations Conference in Richmond June 4 to 8, 2012.

The conference will attract at least 400 civic leaders and university officials from across the United States plus Australia, Canada, China and other nations, said Kim Griffo, executive director of the association.

The association looked at five potential sites before choosing Richmond. The conference has previously been held at Clemson University, the University of Florida, Texas A&M University, Murray State University, Iowa State University and the University of Colorado.

The EKU Center for the Arts, which is scheduled to open in the fall, was one reason Richmond was picked for the conference site, Griffo said. The center's board members include representatives from Richmond, Berea and Madison County.

"That's a major undertaking for any community, whether you're in an urban area or rural area," Griffo said.

The Town and Gown conference will host a joint concert by the classic rock 'n' roll groups The Drifters, The Coasters and The Platters. The concert will be open to the public.

EKU President Doug Whitlock said the conference "will undeniably be good for Richmond and EKU."

Earlier this year, Richmond learned that the All "A" Classic, a basketball tournament for Kentucky's smallest high schools, will move to Frankfort starting next year. That tournament had brought 15,000 to 30,000 people to Richmond.

"What's beautiful about this, we're not letting losing the All "A" stop us," Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said.

Barnes and Whitlock said that EKU and Richmond are among the finalists to host a 2012 presidential debate.

A final decision will be made in the fall.