During the annual SOAR Summit, Governor Andy Beshear and U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced $24.4 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Program funds would be allocated for economic development projects in nine eastern Kentucky counties.
When completed, the projects in Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Knox, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary and Wolfe counties will enable cold storage of bulk apples, broadcasting equipment at the Mountain Arts Studio, an emergency services center, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and diesel-mechanics training facility, RV and industrial parks, a resort bordering the Jefferson National Forest, a wastewater treatment plant and a visitors’ center.
These 11 projects are expected to retain or create more than 200 jobs, train 300 Kentuckians and serve more than 100,000 people via tourism, infrastructure development or training opportunities.
“Once again, this program is funding innovative projects that are bringing jobs to eastern Kentucky so more of our families can provide for their loved ones and live the lives they want and deserve,” said Gov. Beshear. “The foundation has been laid for diversified economic growth as each of these projects is completed, helping these communities not only rebuild following July’s historic flooding but also thrive for generations to come.”
Congressman Rogers echoed Gov. Beshear’s comments, explaining how instrumental these funds will be in rebuilding the region.
“As we continue to rebuild from the catastrophic flood in eastern Kentucky, these grant awards are more important than ever before to advance job creation and new opportunities,” said Congressman Rogers. “These grants will give Eastern Kentuckians more opportunities to work and thrive in their hometowns.”
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) Secretary Rebecca Goodman selected the projects for initial vetting by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). More than 86 applications for funding were received by the EEC’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.
The projects selected for funding include:
- Agricultural Apple Packing and Sorting Facility was selected to receive $6.6 million for the installation of an apple packing and sorting facility in an existing building in Martin County.
- CMH 23 Workforce and Tourism Development Project was selected to receive $1 million to modify and equip the broadcasting studio at the Mountain Arts Studio in Floyd County.
- Elliott County Emergency Operations Center and 911 Center was selected to receive $4.6 million to construct an emergency services center.
- Gifford Road Industrial Park was selected to receive $1 million to construct a build-ready certified site for a 50,000 square foot facility in Magoffin County.
- Impact Outdoor Adventures RV Campground was selected to receive $900,000 to construct a multi-purpose building, yurts, and a tree-top adventure course in Clay County.
- Southeast Transportation Training Center was selected to receive $1.2 million to develop a CDL and diesel mechanics training facility in Knox County.
- Stearns RV Park and Campground was selected to receive $1.6 million to construct an RV park and campground in McCreary County.
- Thunder Ridge Property Acquisition was awarded $3 million to purchase 58 acres to develop the Thunder Ridge Industrial Park, where Boxvana intends to construct a 200,000 square foot facility in Floyd County.
- Raven Rock Resort was selected to receive $1.7 million to begin development on the Raven Rock Resort in Letcher County.
- Hazel Green Wastewater Collection System Phase I was selected to receive $1.4 million to construct an 80,000-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant in Wolfe County.
- Royalton Trail Town Development Phase II was selected to receive $2 million to construct a visitors center, restaurant, entertainment space and parking in Magoffin County.
“These grants are providing the kind of job growth and economic stimulus that we’d hoped,” Secretary Goodman said. “We are excited to have helped launch these projects.”
More than $165 million in federal funding through the AMLER Program has been awarded to Kentucky since its inception in 2016. A total of 75 projects in 23 counties have been selected for the funding. Once completed, it is expected that these projects will have created more than 3,000 new jobs for the region.