Knox, Whitley counties get $2.5 million for water, sewer projects

Governor also recommends $90,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant for Knox County high-speed internet expansion

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear delivered $2,475,666 to Knox and Whitley counties Monday morning to provide clean drinking water and improved sewer and wastewater systems. The funding is part of the Better Kentucky Plan’s $250 million Cleaner Water Program.

He also announced $95,800 in funding for transportation improvements and recommended a $90,000 award to expand high-speed internet access in Knox County.

“These projects are perfect examples of what we can do together to build a better Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “These funds are being invested in projects that support economic growth, increase resiliency of our infrastructure, keep our people safe on the roads and provide first-time access for residents to clean water. This is what we can do as Team Kentucky.”

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA), $250 million was appropriated at the close of the 2021 General Assembly through a bi-partisan agreement for clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky.

The Cumberland Valley Area Development District submitted the funding requests for all projects to the KIA. The $2.4 million will fund five projects ranging from water line extensions to construction of new pump stations.

“This represents one of the more positive aspects of the 2021 General Assembly,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, whose district includes both Knox and Whitley counties. “In a truly bipartisan way, we were able to put these funds to good use rebuilding infrastructure for Kentucky residents for generations.”

Awards were presented for the following improvements:

Knox County Cleaner Water Program Award
The Knox County Utility Commission will receive $1,143,833 to replace an outdated water line, and install a 350-gallon-per-minute booster pump station and a master meter pit. The project will provide the commission with an alternate water source and the ability to support the City of Barbourville during emergencies, such as flooding.

“On behalf of Knox County and myself I would like to sincerely thank Gov. Beshear for funding cleaner water and transportation improvement projects for our community, in addition to recommending funding for high-speed internet expansion,” said Knox County Judge/Executive Mike Mitchell. “When we come together to invest in our region and help our families stay safe, we embody the meaning of Team Kentucky.”

Whitley County Cleaner Water Program Awards
Each of the following systems will receive $332,958.

The Cumberland Falls Highway Water District will use the funds to replace approximately 39,300 feet of water lines and extend service to approximately 20 underserved residences. The district also will use the funds to replace a master meter, purchase automatic meter reading and data processing equipment.

“Clean and safe water is something every Kentuckian has a right to, and the money being used to improve key parts of Kentucky’s infrastructure is exactly the kind of project the legislature had in mind when allocated the ARPA funds from the federal government,” said Rep. Regina Huff, whose district includes Whitley County. “The Cleaner Water Project is a step in the right direction in ensuring that all Kentuckians can live safely without worry about their water systems.”

The City of Williamsburg will replace the existing sanitary lift station originally designed to serve the Kentucky Splash Water Park and the Whitley County Detention Center. The project is a critical step in maintaining adequate sewer service to the area, which is experiencing rapid growth.

The Whitley County Fiscal Court will use funds to help the Knox County Utility Commission extend approximately 25,960 linear feet of main water line to serve customers in Whitley County, including 50 unserved households.

The Whitley County Water District will replace deteriorating water lines in 11 areas of its distribution system, extend water service to 230 underserved households, extend a transmission main and install a pressure-reducing valve station.

“I am very excited to see these much needed projects get funded,” said Whitley County Judge/Executive Pat White Jr. “The county portions of these projects will extend water lines to areas that are greatly in need of the service.”

Funding for Transportation Improvements in Knox County
Gov. Beshear presented a ceremonial check for $95,800 to Knox County representing Kentucky Transportation Cabinet projects to resurface portions of three roads: Oak Hill Road, Old Farm Road and Standard Avenue. Combined, these projects add up to nearly 1.5 miles of new surfacing to make for easier and more efficient travel.

“When it comes to keeping Kentucky families safe on the road, our focus isn’t limited to our interstates and parkways,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’re also committed to improving the smaller county roads and city streets that lead to your front door, or to your school, your workplace or your church.”

Gov. Beshear to Recommend ARC Grant for High-Speed Internet Expansion
The Governor said he would recommend a $90,000 award from the Appalachian Regional Commission to support high-speed internet expansion in Knox County. Upon ARC approval, this project will design and build two miles of fiber to offer high-speed internet access in the most underserved/unserved areas of the county. This fiber network would serve 28 residential customers in the Ramsey Branch area. Funding for this expansion will give this area access to remote work and learning opportunities, that otherwise would not be possible, improving standard of living by allowing residents to work and learn from home.

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