YPAL starts petition to support Louisville’s Amazon bid

YPAL has started a petition to bolster the city’s bid. | Courtesy of YPAL

The Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL) is rallying people in support of the city’s bid to become home to Amazon’s HQ2.

YPAL is seeking thousands of signatures for its petition asking business giant Amazon to bring its secondary headquarters — with its more than $5 billion in investment and 50,000 high-paying jobs — to Louisville. At noon today, the organization’s petition on Change.org will go live.

Drew Eckman, president of YPAL, said the organization wanted to be involved because members were “excited and enthusiastic” about the prospect of Amazon moving into the region, and he’d connected with the mayor, city officials and Greater Louisville Inc. leadership on the GLIDE trip to Nashville.

“We are really kind of working hand in hand with Louisville Forward. We bounced different ideas off of them” about how to support the bid, he said. “Given how time-sensitive this was, we thought, ‘Hey, this is something we might actually be able to pull off.’ ”

Anyone and everyone can sign, Eckman said. “If you support the idea of Amazon moving HQ2 to Louisville, we encourage you to sign the petition.”

One big question in the air is: Is Louisville even in the running? Some national media doesn’t seem to think so, but Eckman said he and other YPAL leaders do.

“While Louisville may not be the strongest city in one or more of those factors, I think there is a lot Louisville has to offer,” Eckman said. “I love this city and I know all the things it has to offer — the amazing parks, the events, the bourbon.”

In its marketing packet, the city’s economic development arm Louisville Forward also highlights the more than $11 billion in investment since 2014, more than 2,800 new businesses created since 2011, the 63,000 jobs added locally since 2011 and its Code Louisville program. Louisville is inclusive of all, has a stellar public park system and has lower than average cost of living, Louisville Forward points out.

For Louisville, landing a major company like Amazon would “have the potential to really catapult a community, really lift a city up,” he said, adding that that could be a positive in Louisville’s favor over other large cities.

“This is a place where Amazon could have a huge impact on the local community,” Eckman said.

A hot topic in the business community is talent retention and attraction, particularly how the city can appeal to young professionals. A big fish like Amazon would bring jobs, which would aid those efforts, but it also would have ancillary impacts in terms of new amenities and general growth in the city.

“For young professionals, it’s exciting because there are going to be more opportunities in the market, but bigger than that, it is going to add vibrancy to the market” if Amazon chooses Louisville, Eckman said. “This is a great way to elevate our community and make it an even more vibrant city.”