STEARNS, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two federal grants totaling more than $3 million have been awarded to revitalize Stearns in McCreary County, which was once a major hub for coal and lumber exports.
An Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) grant totaling $1.1 million will be used for railroad repairs and improvements to the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, which is a popular tourist attraction.
The McCreary County Heritage Foundation received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Some of the other projects include a new restaurant and reconstruction of a theater in the Stearns historic district.
Historic Stearns Coal & Lumber Company stores will be repurposed into museums and a visitor center. The former company headquarters will be converted into a bed and breakfast, according to officials.
“This project will breathe new life back into this historic town by investing in our story and tourism in our unique region,” said Fifth District Republican Congressman Hal Rogers.
“The AML Pilot grants are designed to revitalize our former coal towns and help diversify our economy. This project is a great example of how we can highlight our past and help pave a new path for our future,” Congressman Rogers added.