Gov. Beshear Announces nearly $3 Million in Grants to Create Economic Opportunities in Eastern Kentucky
FRANKFORT, KY (STL.News) Gov. Andy Beshear announced $2,998,892 in grant funding for four projects in Eastern Kentucky for utility improvements, economic development and tourism advancements that will create economic opportunities in the region.
The grant funding is through the Department for Local Government (DLG). Those receiving funds, from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Regional Development Agency Assistance Program (RDAAP), are Breathitt County, Knott County, Perry County, Wayne County and Hindman.
“I am committed to building a stronger, better Eastern Kentucky, especially at a time when we are working to restart Kentucky’s economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “These projects will provide better infrastructure, better opportunity, better jobs and will further the innovation we see all across Eastern Kentucky.”
“Every Kentuckian, no matter where they live, should have access to economic opportunity,” said DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene. “These projects, along with other actions by Gov. Beshear and this administration, will help make that dream a reality for our Eastern Kentucky communities.”
Breathitt County Fiscal Court will use a $708,500 ARC grant for the South Fork Elk View Campground project. They will use the funds to construct a visitor center and create five additional full-time jobs. Upon completion, this project will contribute to the growing outdoor tourism industry in Breathitt County and transform a former mine land site into a tourist destination at the trailhead for the South Fork corridor of the Kentucky Mountain Trail Authority.
“It is with my utmost appreciation to be accepting this grant on behalf of the citizens of Breathitt County,” said Breathitt County Magistrate Ellis Tincher. “As the magistrate of District 4, I am humbled and very grateful to be receiving such a generous amount to aid in the completion of phase three of the Elk View Project. For us to be considered for this grant is a great honor and privilege. The citizens of Breathitt County, the Fiscal Court and myself would like to extend our most gracious thank you to Gov. Beshear and the ARC for making this possible.”
Hazard Troublesome Creek Environmental Authority will use a $500,240 ARC grant for the Drone Port Water and Sewer Collection project, which will serve both Perry and Knott counties. The project includes the construction of 7,500 linear feet of force main and one lift station. Upon completion, this will allow the tenants to complete their research and commercial activities and will create 12 new jobs.
“We’re always excited to work with Gov. Beshear and DLG,” said Perry County Judge/Executive Scott Alexander. “This is a special project, and we are stepping out of the bounds of what we normally do in Eastern Kentucky. We hope to lead the way with drones and continue to build on this industry.”
Wayne County Fiscal Court will use $153,846 from RDAAP for the second phase in a land acquisition project. The funding will be used to acquire a 25-acre tract to develop the Wayne County Industrial Park.
“On behalf of Wayne County, we really appreciate this work for us and all 39 TVA counties,” said Wayne County Judge/Executive Mike Anderson. “We are extremely excited to see what we can do with our new Industrial Park.”
“We are extremely excited that Wayne County is one of the counties receiving RDAAP funding,” said Monticello/Wayne County IDA Chairman Frank Phillips. “These funds allowed the Monticello/Wayne County Industrial Development Authority to purchase real estate that will be utilized as a new industrial park. The RDAAP funding provided Wayne County with a tremendous and unique opportunity to develop and grow our local economy. We are thankful to receive these funds.”
Hindman will use a $138,860 grant for the Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky to support organizational operations and ensure sustainable infrastructure to implement various programs including those for recovery from substance abuse and opioid addiction. The project is expected to help 31 workers and 3,395 participants across 17 Appalachian communities.
“I want to thank Gov. Beshear, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Department for Local Government for their support for the Appalachian Artisan Center,” said Appalachian Artisan Center Executive Director Randy Campbell. “This will help provide our mountain artisans with jobs and support for their small businesses. This will allow us to continue our fight against opioid addiction and substance abuse. It is great to have the importance of our work recognized.”
Since December, the Beshear administration has announced more than $25 million in grants for development, infrastructure and improvement projects to communities in Eastern Kentucky. Additionally, Gov. Beshear allocated $300 million in CARES Act funding for local governments. So far, more than $86 million in funding has been approved, more than $13.5 million of which will go to local governments in Eastern Kentucky.
Details about another $1.5 million in grants will be offered at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday during a news briefing in the Capitol rotunda. Visit the Governor’s Facebook page to watch the news conference