Telia Butler Shows Pride for Bowling Green as Downtown Development Coordinator

by | Aug 2023

THERE’S SOMETHING special about people who love their hometown. They are deeply connected to where they grew up, with memories of childhood friends, local landmarks, and cherished traditions. Home is more than just a physical location for these individuals — it’s a source of pride and identity. They’re passionate about preserving the local culture, supporting small businesses, and building a strong sense of community. Whether they live there their entire lives or move away, the love for their hometown never fades. This enduring connection makes them unique and inspires others to appreciate the beauty of their hometowns.

For Telia Butler, there is always time for her to share how amazing her hometown of Bowling Green is. Whether she’s pausing for a quick bite, stopping at one of her favorite downtown spots, or on duty as the Bowling Green Downtown Development Coordinator. 

Born and raised in Bowling Green, Butler has a family that goes back to the early 1800s. From a young age, Butler knew she would always call Bowling Green home. 

“I did not want to leave,” she said. “My family has a small cattle farm just outside of Bowling Green, and I’ve always been a family-oriented, small-town kind of person. My family all live either on the farm or directly across the street from the farm. We are blessed to have that beautiful Kentucky rolling hill background in our backyard.” 

A graduate of Western Kentucky University with degrees in history and news journalism, Butler ventured into the workforce looking for a way to use both. She also hoped to be able to promote her much-beloved city. Throughout her career, Butler has served in several positions that have promoted Bowling Green, such as Public Relations (PR) Director for the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Marriott Area Director of Sales for Anderson Hospitality, and Throwback Thursday reporter for WNKY NBC/CBS, along with Membership & Marketing Director at The Club at Olde Stone. 

Photographed submitted by Jay Simms.

She is also active as the secretary of the Southern Kentucky Hospitality Association and is a founding member and past president of the American Marketing Association of Bowling Green. 

In December 2021, Butler stepped into the position of downtown development coordinator for Bowling Green. The position did not exist before 2021, and Butler would be the first person to hold such. 

Her role would be to create a superior downtown experience for locals and visitors. She would organize events, share news on digital platforms, and use tourism, hospitality, and marketing skills to invest in improvements. She would also aid tourism and economic development efforts to help expand a prosperous downtown area in Bowling Green. 

“I was hired because of my tourism background to promote and better build downtown into a destination and preserve Bowling Green’s identity in the process,” explained Butler. “I get to return to my journalism roots and run our downtown social media and part of our city’s social media in telling stories about Bowling Green characters, events, landmarks, and history. I also have the blessing of having relationships with our Bowling Green media. Because I had those relationships 10 years ago, when I built them working at the visitor’s bureau doing PR for Bowling Green Tourism, I get to go on television or radio or talk to the paper and brag about my hometown and its greatness. The idea is to build the downtown Bowling Green brand and identity, keep it alive, and inspire the rest of Bowling Green and the counties that touch us to embrace that as well.” 

Photographed submitted by Jay Simms.

Butler said that since taking the position, it is still somewhat surreal, but she sees it as an opportunity to honor and preserve a town she loves so much while helping promote all the great things in it. 

“The role and the concept did not exist,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s all happening, but we are moving forward beautifully. The community has also stepped up, took the ball, and ran with it. We are all just in awe of how well received this was and if this indicates how downtown’s brand and the downtown feeling and energy is making its way through the rest of the community.” 

As she continues navigating and growing through her position, Butler said she hopes to show others Bowling Green’s past, present, and future through her eyes. Those same eyes witnessed the good of what her parents, grandparents, and ancestors did and the same good she hopes to leave for those to come. 

“I grew up in a family of people who loved what they did because it was close to their hearts,” she said. “My aunt always told me to find a job where I could be a tourist and tell stories. I found this opportunity by accident and fell into it. My family taught whole generations of kids in our community growing up, and I’m just sharing that same value and importance of the community in a different capacity. I want to leave this community in a better place than I found it — precisely what my parents, grandparents, and men before them have done. If I can leave the entire community better than the way it was in 1990 when I was born into it, then I’ll be happy, and my job is done.” GN

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