Community leaders have launched a $2.5 million campaign to spur growth in central Kentucky, including the Fort Knox area. The new group, called the Knox Regional Development Alliance, held a launch event last week at the Grace Heartland Church in Elizabethtown.

The startup capital will be used over five years. Part of the money will be used to hire staff, including a full-time executive. The KRDA hopes to attract and retain business related to defense.

“We want to make sure we’re lobbying the right folks in Washington D.C. and in Frankfort to make sure that we are protecting and preserving the asset of Ft. Knox,” said Dennis Johnson, president and CEO of Hardin Memorial Health and co-chair of of the campaign. “We just can’t take anything for granted.”

Johnson said he didn’t want to paint the picture that Ft. Knox is the only valuable asset in the region but he said it is an important one.

“It’s one of those big assets, that along with the other assets, make this a great place to live, a great place to work, and a great place to what I call ‘doing community,” he said.

At the time of reporting the organization raised $1.6 million since spring, from 45 major contributors including: Ft. Knox Federal Credit Union, Hardin Memorial Health, and Swope Family of Dealerships.