FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced $3,000,394 in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants for six projects in Central and Eastern Kentucky communities that will improve workforce training, bolster education systems, update critical infrastructure, further economic diversification and build a better Kentucky.
The grant funding is administered by the Department for Local Government (DLG). Communities receiving funds are Green County, McCreary County, Albany, Paintsville, Pikeville and Whitesburg.
Gov. Beshear also announced more than $9 million in funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to 11 cities and 19 counties for improvement of local streets and roads.
“These projects will encourage much needed economic growth in Eastern Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our administration is committed to Eastern Kentucky and helping it reach economic parity with the rest of the state. These ARC investments will build a stronger economy, provide good jobs and create real opportunity for our Eastern Kentucky families.”
DLG Commissioner and Gov. Beshear’s ARC Representative Dennis Keene explained investments in Eastern Kentucky will improve lives for generations.
“ARC investments provide more than a one-time benefit. They make real change for our families and build a foundation for growth that will continue for years to come,” said Commissioner Keene. “These investments in infrastructure, workforce readiness and education are invaluable for Eastern Kentucky.”
The Green County Board of Education will use $300,000 in ARC funding to expand the welding program at the Area Technology Center. The project will expand the welding lab by 750 square-feet, adding eight additional welding stations and required equipment. Upon completion, the project is expected to help 100 additional students each year obtain employment and continue their education. Fifteen workers and trainees are expected to obtain new jobs within one year of the project’s completion.
“This ARC grant is going to have a monumental impact throughout the regional economy,” said Green County Schools Director of Finance Zachary Leftwich. “The welding lab at the Green County Area Technology Center utilizes industrial-standard equipment to provide students from three local school districts and adult learners from around the region with integral, high-quality job training. By expanding the welding lab, we will be able to better address the economic needs of nine Central Kentucky counties that are in desperate need of a more-developed workforce. We are very thankful to the Appalachian Regional Commission for making this opportunity available to our community.”
The McCreary County Water District will use $444,940 in ARC funding to improve the wastewater collection system, which will better serve 860 households and 240 businesses. The project will replace existing sewer lines and influent pumps, construct an equalization system and upgrade the current lift station to better support the expanding industrial sector in McCreary County.
Albany will use $400,000 in ARC funding for the Duvall Valley Area Water Systems Improvement Project. Currently, customers in the Duvall Valley region experience water shortages and low pressure, which hurts 12 poultry farms that rely on this water source for operations. Funding will be used to replace 44,480 linear feet of water line, replace a pump station and construct a 500,000 gallon elevated water storage tank. This project will allow poultry farming, a major agricultural industry in the area, to expand. Upon completion, this project will ensure better water supply and service for 21 businesses and 124 households.
“I would like to take this time to thank Gov. Beshear, the Department for Local Government and all others who have made this possible,” said Albany Mayor Lyle Pierce.
One East Kentucky, located in Paintsville, will use $1,230,800 in ARC funding to institute a business retention and expansion program to recruit new industry to the region. To do so, they will use the funding to develop local incentives, develop small-business strategies, coordinate regional training opportunities and expand recruiting activities like marketing, data on targeted industries, regional promotional materials and national advertising. The program will serve 300 businesses in 12 communities and is expected to retain 250 jobs, create 1,500 new jobs and leverage $60 million in private investment.
The Big Sandy Community and Technical College will use $124,654 in ARC funding for the Pike County Industrial Maintenance Technology & Welding Training Capacity Expansion project. Upon completion, the project will add six flexible welding stations, three downdraft workbenches and industrial ventilation to a training lab at the Pikeville campus. The expansion will provide training for 30 students and help at least 22 students obtain new or better employment by May 2022.
“On behalf of Big Sandy Community and Technical College and our president, Dr. Sherry Zylka, our faculty, staff and students would like to thank Gov. Beshear, the Department for Local Government and the Appalachian Regional Commission for this award,” said Big Sandy Community and Technical College Technical Programs Division Chair Keithen McKenzie. “With this funding, we will be able to expand our welding program, creating greater opportunity for our students and our community.”
Whitesburg will use $500,000 for the Whitesburg Water Storage Tank Replacement project, which will replace two water storage tanks. The replacements will increase capacity by 25,000 gallons and will provide better service to 637 households and 322 businesses.
“The City of Whitesburg is very grateful that our Water Storage Tank Replacement Project has been selected to receive $500,000 in grant funds,” said Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft. “Replacing these tanks allows us to better serve hundreds of our residents and businesses. This funding is much appreciated and will help make rehabilitating our decades-old infrastructure a reality.”
Also today, Gov. Beshear announced more than $9 million in funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to 30 communities for improvement of local streets and roads.
“Transportation infrastructure is more than just interstate highways and massive bridges,” said Gov. Beshear. “For most people, day in and day out, the most important infrastructure is the streets and roads that lead to their front door or school or work place. The funding we’re announcing today helps our city and county governments maintain those vital local routes.”
The funding – $9,246,953 – will reimburse 19 counties and 11 cities for work such as pavement repair, resurfacing and drainage ditching on roadways that were rated in poor condition. The projects were submitted for funding consideration from local officials. In each case, KYTC district engineers assessed road conditions to determine the most critical needs based on factors such as safety, economic impact and traffic volumes. For a list of the awards, click here.
On Monday, Gov. Beshear announced grant funding for seven projects in Eastern Kentucky for utility improvements, economic development and advancements for education and health care that will create economic opportunities in the region. To read more about those grants, click here. Gov. Beshear also announced nearly $4 million for road improvements from the Transportation Cabinet. After two days of announcements, the Governor awarded nearly $20 million to communities across the commonwealth.