Appalachian Wildlife Foundation receives USDA loan approval

Published 3:26 pm Friday, October 11, 2019

The Appalachian Wildlife Foundation announced that it has received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture of a $23.5 million loan guarantee for the construction of the visitor center building at the Appalachian Wildlife Center.

Hacker Brothers Construction began work at the site in March and will now gear up to resume construction activities on the visitor center within 60 days. The Appalachian Wildlife Center is on schedule to open to the public in summer 2021.

Appalachian Wildlife Foundation President David Ledford commented, “There were a lot of moving parts to this process and we are excited to have it completed. This was our largest hurdle to get over to ensure the success of the project. Our team is anxious to move forward.”

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The visitor center will be an 80,000 square foot building that will contain two museums, a theater, an artisans hall, a birders hall, a gift shop, a 300-seat restaurant, classrooms and offices. The building will sit on a 500-acre tract that will also host a zoo, bird observatories, elk viewing pavilions, a learning zone, an accessible nature trail, a monuments park and numerous art displays.

The Appalachian Wildlife Center will open in the summer of 2021. By 2023 it is projected to attract over 850,000 visitors a year and generate over $174 million in regional spending.

The Appalachian Wildlife Foundation is a Corbin-based nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organization.