CLAY, KY (STL.News) Governor Andy Beshear announced nearly $1 million in funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for communities in Western Kentucky. Recipients will use funds to purchase land for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center in Webster County and to upgrade the outdated Job Corps Sewer system in Union County.
Gov. Beshear also announced more than $750,000 from the Transportation Cabinet to improve highway safety near Kentucky schools. All projects will build a stronger, better Western Kentucky by supporting education and job training and providing modern infrastructure.
“Every Kentucky community should have reliable water and sewer service and a strong education system,” said Gov. Beshear. “I’m grateful for these projects because they will provide Kentuckians opportunities in critical industries at both the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center and the Job Corp Center, which will improve communities across Western Kentucky.”
CDBG funds are designed to expand economic opportunities and development in communities across Kentucky. The Department for Local Government (DLG) administers CDBG funds at the state level. DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene explained the importance of upgrading water and sewer infrastructure and supporting training opportunities.
“Our top priority is to build stronger, healthier communities,” said Commissioner Keene. “These projects will provide better water service and support professional advancement for Kentuckians throughout the commonwealth, getting us one step closer to providing these opportunities for every member on Team Kentucky.”
Webster and Union Counties
Webster and Union Counties applied jointly for $472,000 to purchase property for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center. In collaboration with Madisonville Community College, the facility will train students as utility linemen and diesel mechanics and help them obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
The former administrative offices at the Dotiki Mine, which closed in 2019 and has remained unused since, will house the training center. The recipients will use former mine land to train dislocated coal miners for new careers as the community readjusts following mine closures and job loss in the industry.
Webster County Judge/Executive Steve Henry and Union County Judge/Executive Adam O’Nan discussed the importance of this project for the future of the region.
“The announcement of the CDBG funding for this training center is historic for Webster County,” said Judge/Executive Henry. “The opportunity to help build a skilled workforce is one the best investments that we can make in our communities. I want to thank Gov. Beshear and his administration for recognizing the significance of this project and securing the funds to make this a reality for Western Kentucky.”
“Union County is thrilled to partner with Webster County and Madisonville Community College to create the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center (WKRTC),” said Judge/Executive O’Nan. “The WKRTC will provide skilled training programs for students interested in very high demand career paths. We are honored to be a part of this regional effort to strengthen Western Kentucky’s workforce. We are grateful to the Department for Local Government for investing in our project and helping to make it a reality.”
Madisonville Community College President Dr. Cindy Kelley explained that the training center will help foster economic growth throughout Western Kentucky.
“The development of this regional training center is the result of area leaders who value partnerships and are willing to work together to provide opportunities for economic growth for the community,” said President Kelley. “With the programs we can offer at this new facility, the college will be positioned to train students for good-paying jobs that will lead to a better life. This partnership also brings life back to the Dotiki mine facility, which has served this community well. Its legacy will continue as a center for training and education.”
Webster and Union Counties were also awarded more than $350,000 from the Delta Regional Authority for this project, making the total funding for this project more than $800,000.
Union County and Morganfield
Union County and Morganfield applied jointly for $500,000 to upgrade the Job Corps sanitary sewer system, which will provide modern infrastructure and improve service at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Center, which is an extension of the national Job Corps residential career training program.
The program is a tuition-free training and education program that helps Kentuckians ages 16 to 24 complete their high school education while simultaneously training them for careers. The center offers programs in welding, maintenance and light repair, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, certified nursing assistantship, culinary arts and more.
Upon completion, the applicants will replace oversized sewer lines and approximately 310 brick manholes. Additionally, they will rehabilitate approximately 67,000 linear feet of 8-inch clay pipe using trenchless methods. By upgrading this infrastructure, the collection system will have appropriately sized pipes and will resolve major infiltration and inflow issues.
Union County Judge/Executive O’Nan and Morganfield Mayor Randy Greenwell expressed gratitude for the funding.
“Union County is grateful to the Department for Local Government for its continued support of the Job Corps Sanitary Sewer Project,” said Judge/Executive O’Nan. “The Community Development Block Grant recently awarded to the City of Morganfield is the last significant piece to move this critically needed project forward. The rehabilitation of the sanitary sewer will preserve approximately 600 jobs and allow over 1,000 students to continue their education at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps.”
“The grant and funding for the rehabilitation and replacement of the Job Corps Sanitary System is a huge project for all the citizens of Morganfield and Union County,” said Mayor Greenwell. “The system was placed in the 1940s and because of its deterioration, it has been a major problem for many years. The project will be a giant step in repairing our aging sewer system and the grant will spare our citizens the majority of the burden of paying for the improvements.”
Union County and Morganfield were also awarded $3 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for this project and will use additional funds, making the total funding for this project more than $4.2 million.
Gov. Beshear also announced transportation investments of $750,070 in Webster and Union counties to improve highway safety and infrastructure near Western Kentucky schools.
In Webster County, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will invest $750,000 to design and construct two-way left turns on KY 1340. This will provide easier and safer access into three Webster County schools, the Webster County Area Technology Center and neighboring athletic fields. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.
In Union County, a $70,000 repair project will be performed to install lining in a ditch along US 60 to combat erosion that could damage the nearby Union County High School student parking lot and create drop-offs if not corrected. Work is expected to begin in 2021.