Community Winner Kokomo Overcomes ‘Rocky’ Road

The Chamber’s press release calls Kokomo — being recognized as the 2011 Community of the Year at the upcoming 22nd Annual Awards Dinner — a "comeback kid." Maybe it should have termed the city the longest of longshots since Rocky Balboa entered the boxing ring against Apollo Creed for the first time in 1976.

While Rocky didn’t win that battle in the ring (off subject: too bad they didn’t stop that Rocky series after the first two entries), Kokomo emerged from its four leading businesses being in bankruptcy at the same time and unemployment that soared above 19%.

During several recent visits to Kokomo to document its story for our BizVoice magazine and the video at the November 17 awards event (no Rocky, but Terry Bradshaw will be the featured speaker), it’s clear that sheer determination of community leaders was one of the primary reasons for the turnaround. People like their hometown, and they didn’t want it to become a victim of an economic downfall that was largely out of their control.

Congratulations, Kokomo. We look forward to sharing the story of how it all happened in the weeks ahead.