The Lincoln Trail Area Development District was created as a non-profit corporation on March 23, 1968. The organization was designated as a public agency in 1972 through KRS 147A, with legislative action creating area development districts. LTADD includes the eight west-central Kentucky counties of BreckinridgeGraysonHardinLaRueMarionMeadeNelson and Washington.

The region is named for President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthplace and boyhood homes are located in the area. It includes portions of the major geographical regions running from the Mississippi plateau to the knobs and outer bluegrass. The district is also quite well known for Fort Knox, the Human Resource Center of Excellence and the home of the US gold reserve. The district encompassed some 3,318 square miles and had a population of approximately 190,000 per the 1970 census.

Since its formation in 1968, the LTADD has subscribed to the philosophy that conscientious personal attention provided to each of our communities will ensure long and mutually beneficial relationships. We are very proud of the high frequency of repeat requests for assistance from our communities, and have viewed this as an indication of our success in satisfying the special needs and preferences within the region. This desire to develop economical, socially acceptable solutions to difficult community problems, coupled with our willingness and ability to employ innovative approaches, has been the trademark of LTADD for the past three decades.

The concept of Area Development Districts (ADDs) originated in Kentucky in the early 1960’s with the establishment of Area Development Councils. These Councils were organized in all counties and ultimately became the model for Area Development authorization in landmark federal acts such as the Appalachian Regional Development Act and the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965. The fifteen Area Development Districts were formed during the period that followed, from 1966 to 1972. The ADDs are designed to be the focal point of a necessary Federal-State-Local partnership for improvement of the quality of life in the Commonwealth. The mission of the ADDs is and continues to be:
To bring those local, civic and governmental leaders together to accomplish those objectives that could not be achieved by the governments acting separately.
Organizationally, the Kentucky Area Development Districts are truly a federal/state/local partnership, a council of governments, a sub-state regional planning district, a regional clearinghouse for coordination of public/private investments, a regional technical assistance center to the public and private sectors, and a local/regional/statewide programming and services organizer and implementer. Each ADD is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of elected officials from the counties and communities within the District, as well as non-elected citizen members representing a cross-section of the region’s social and economic institutions. The ADD network has been in operation for over three decades. The network serves as a model of accountability, through annual, independent financial audits and the regular submission of reports covering various activities and programs. Two organizations grew out of the ADD network and have enhanced their role in the development of the Commonwealth. The Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) is an organization representing all ADD Board members throughout the state. The Kentucky Association of District Directors is an organization of the fifteen ADD Executive Directors. The KCADD employs a full-time Information Director in Frankfort to coordinate network information flow in the state capital.