FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) – Governor Andy Beshear said several Eastern Kentucky communities have received more than $9.9 million in Partnership Funds for Opportunity and Workforce and Revitalization Economic (POWER) of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support 11 projects.
The projects will create more than 600 jobs and generate up to $40 million in investment.
“ARC funds have transformed Kentucky’s Appalachia for years,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “We want people to not only stay in Kentucky, but also move here. These projects will benefit families for generations and help us build the better Kentucky we all want.
A breakdown of these investments is below:
- Rowdy Trailhead and Campground: The Perry County Tax Court will use $1.5 million for the Rowdy Trailhead and Campground project. Located off Kentucky Highway 476 in the Rowdy community of Perry County, the project will support outdoor recreation and tourism by constructing 30 RV campgrounds with full water, sewer, utility hook-ups. electricity and cable TV, as well as common facilities (bathroom, laundry room and ATV wash bay) and on-site infrastructure (wastewater treatment, dump station, water lines and security). The campground will serve as the starting point for Perry County ATV trails, which connect to a 75-mile loop through Breathitt, Knott, Floyd and Magoffin counties. The project will create 38 jobs in its first 15 months and result in approximately 24,960 overnight stays in the first year. Additional funding is provided by the Abandoned Mining Lands Economic Revitalization Program and the Kentucky Appalachian Foundation.
- TEK Center Skilled Trades Training: The TEK Center Inc. in Inez will use $1.5 million for the TEK Center Skilled Trades Training Project. The project will develop a skilled trades training center to support low-income people, people in drug rehabilitation programs and displaced workers such as former coal miners, all of whom are heavily affected by the drop in coal production. anthrax and the substance use disorder crisis. To encourage the participation of these groups, this training center will offer training programs of one year or less that will streamline these people into high-paying, high-demand jobs. The project will serve six companies, 125 secondary school students and 395 workers/trainees.
- UPIKE Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence: Pikeville University will use $1.5 million for the UPIKE Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence project. Located off US Highway 23 in Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park, the project will develop an agricultural research facility in partnership with the City of Pikeville that will serve seven eastern Kentucky counties. The facility will help the region’s growing sustainable agricultural sector. The center will focus on seed development, environmental conservation practices and controlled environment agriculture. Over the next three years, the project will help create 250 jobs and three new businesses. Additional funding of $4.4 million is provided by the US Economic Development Administration.
- Development of Eastern KY’s controlled environment production ecosystem: The Kentucky Horticulture Council in Lexington will use $1,458,212 for Growing Eastern KY’s Controlled Environment Production Ecosystem Project. The Kentucky Horticulture Council will partner with the University of Kentucky, the Community Farm Alliance and the Kentucky Center for Agriculture & Rural Development to help prospective and established growers develop controlled environment farming (CEA) operations that enable year-round growth. This project will not only advance entrepreneurial support for new and existing farmers in Kentucky, but will also develop a competitive, career-ready workforce to support the expansion of CEA jobs in Eastern Kentucky. The project will serve 484 enterprises and 137 workers/trainees, improve 247 enterprises and 110 workers/trainees, establish 12 enterprises, generate $185,000 in non-export related income and leverage $185,000 in additional private investment.
- Plant for sorting and packing agricultural apples: The Big Sandy Area Development District in Prestonsburg will use $1.2 million for the Farm Apple Sorting and Packing Facility project. The project will perform work at the East Kentucky Business Park site to prepare a new building addition that will serve as a regional apple sorting and packing center for nine counties in eastern Kentucky and southern Virginia. -Occidentale and will provide business and technical assistance to entrepreneurs. This facility will provide Appalachian farmers with access to national and international markets. With over a thousand acres of former mining land in the region converted to apple orchards, this ARC POWER grant will support the development of a new industrial cluster. The project is expected to be completed within 10 months and will serve 300 businesses, support the creation of 260 jobs and leverage up to $30 million in additional private investment.
- Preparing for the Future of American Agriculture: Ag-Tech Learning: The Kentucky Community & Technical College System in Versailles will use $1,137,500 for the Preparing the Future of American Agriculture: Ag-Tech Apprenticeship project. The project will implement a training program for entry-level workers and build a labor pool for high-yield, controlled-environment year-round agriculture, or agricultural technology (ag-tech), in the Appalachians. This project will focus on recruiting workers recovering from substance use disorder and traditionally underrepresented workers in the agri-tech industry. The program will support 350 workers/trainees through salary increases and career progression and improve a large-scale business by increasing worker productivity revenue and reducing product waste.
- Appalachia Access to Capital – Phase II – Capital and Technical Assistance: Community Ventures Corp. of Lexington will use $1.5 million for the Appalachia Access to Capital – Phase II – Capital and Technical Assistance project. The project will fund a revolving loan fund to increase New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) investments in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. ARC funding will support second-phase technical assistance to Appalachian businesses and NMTC grantees seeking investment. CV will align complementary sources of capital for projects that create new jobs or provide community infrastructure such as healthcare, education and social services. The project will improve 15 businesses and 10 communities, create 150 jobs and 15 businesses, and leverage $10.5 million in additional private investment over six years.
- The EKY Community Accelerator: The Berea Mountain Association will use $50,000 for the EKY Community Accelerator project. The project will help communities organize themselves, build strong local networks and seize opportunities that create jobs and economic resilience. The Mountain Association will act as the fiscal sponsor of the accelerator, and What’s Next EKY?! – a network of community groups and regional partners – will serve as the lead agency. Over the course of the one-year grant, the region will have a tested model of how best to help communities move towards resilient economies. The project will serve three communities and produce a regional report outlining a new toolkit.
- Planning for the Eastern Kentucky Equine Community Center: The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) Foundation in Lexington will use $50,000 for the Eastern Kentucky Equine Community Center Planning Project. The project will assess the feasibility and provide a business plan for a potential Eastern Kentucky Equine Center. The center would provide space for businesses related to the equine industry and outdoor recreation, as well as workforce training to meet business employment needs. Workforce training would focus on formerly incarcerated and recovering populations and help develop a pipeline of jobs and businesses for the equine and mental health sectors. The center will help southeast Kentucky leverage the state’s strong equine industry and feral horse population as economic assets. The project will lead to a feasibility study and a business plan over a period of one year.
- Planning the Southeast Kentucky Regional Experience Package: The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky (FAKY) in Hazard will use 48,422 for the Southeast Kentucky Regional Experience Package Planning Project. The project will coordinate tourism initiatives in Southeast Kentucky to create and market regional experience packages. These packages will align and market similar and complementary initiatives so visitors can take advantage of the wealth of experiences Southeast Kentucky has to offer. The end result of the project will be a pitch to investors and funders that demonstrates the need and potential impact of developing regional experience packages. The project will serve five counties over the course of one year.
- Southeast Kentucky Regional Trail Planning: FAKY will also use $46,838 for the Southeast Kentucky Regional Trail Planning Project. The project will create an outdoor adventure development, marketing, and servicing plan for Southeast Kentucky that capitalizes on the potential impacts on the economy and health of the outdoor recreation community. The plan will include an assessment of existing outdoor recreation assets, infrastructure and initiatives; a detailed vision for the future of the region, informed by feedback from community stakeholders; and work plans to guide progress towards this vision. The project will serve eight counties over the course of one year.
Officials said it was ARC’s largest grant program to date.
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