State pledges funds to help rebuild infrastructure in Bell County

Published 3:13 pm Thursday, September 22, 2022

Whirmer Industrial Park Road among projects cited


Bell and Harlan counties are the beneficiaries of $244,950 in awards to improve infrastructure by resurfacing three roads and extending water service to unserved households. The announcement of the funding was made this week by Gov. Andy Beshear.

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Beshear also recommended that Kingdom Come State Park receive $200,000 in funding from the National Park Service.

“Today’s funding prioritizes the wellbeing of Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “These awards are helping us build a better Kentucky by improving roads, water service and our state parks. These are fundamental investments that will improve the lives of our people.”

Whirmer Industrial Park Road resurfacing

The governor presented $34,000 from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to the City of Middlesboro for the resurfacing of Whirmer Industrial Park Road, which connects 9,300 residents and 490 local businesses. The funding will go toward resurfacing 0.3 miles of Whirmer Industrial Park Road starting off South 17th Street and going to the railroad tracks. The road is currently gravel.

“My sincere thanks to Governor Beshear for helping Middlesboro to improve our streets,” said Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson. “He has truly been a friend to our area.”

Pine Mountain State Park/Sawmill Hollow water line replacement

The governor presented $195,000 in Cleaner Water Program funding to the City of Pineville for the Pine Mountain State Park/Sawmill Hollow water line replacement and extension project. The project will replace an existing 2-inch waterline serving a portion of Pine Mountain State Resort Park with a new 6-inch PVC waterline. It will also extend a 2-inch PVC waterline to serve the Sawmill Hollow area in Bell County. The new waterlines will provide water services to four currently unserved households.

“We appreciate Governor Beshear and his administration supporting and helping Bell County with these additional funds,” said Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock.

East Clover Street and South Williams Street Resurfacing Projects

The City of Harlan received $10,450 from KYTC for the resurfacing of East Clover Street. The project will resurface 845 feet of road beginning on South Williams Street and extending to Kentucky Highway 38.

The governor also presented $5,550 from KYTC to the City of Harlan for the resurfacing of South Williams Street. The project will resurface 175 feet of road, beginning on East Central Street extending to East Clover Street.

Neither road has been resurfaced since the 1970s. This funding will improve the road conditions for 4,500 constituents and 65 local businesses.

Kingdom Come State Park

Beshear recommended that Kingdom Come State Park receive $200,000 in funding from the National Park Service, where it will undergo federal review. The proposed project will include the design and construction of six new rentable camper cabins as well as the renovation of an existing park residence into a fully accessible camper cabin. The cabins will be of simple design with approximately 200 square feet of interior space, basic furnishings and electricity. The project will also include the design and construction of a new, accessible bathroom and shower facilities for guests.

The project will also include the design and construction of new, buried utility infrastructure, roads, walkways, parking, lighting and signage to accommodate camper guests.

The former park residence also will be renovated into a fully accessible camper cabin. The walkways, parking and signage will meet accessibility requirements and guidelines.

The project site is located across from Bullock Overlook, which will offer guests stunning views of the north face of Pine Mountain and the valley below. The site is also immediately adjacent to the Little Shepherd Trail, a 38-mile narrow gravel and blacktop road that follows along the crest of Pine Mountain and connects to the long-distance Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail.

“I am not very good with words, but I always remind my staff that ‘we may be small, but we are mighty!’ Being one of the smallest state parks, it’s often hard to get the attention needed, but I tell my staff that the day will come when the work we put in is realized,” said Kingdom Come State Park manager Sherry Cornett.

About the Land & Water Conservation Fund

The LWCF provides federal grant funds to protect important natural areas, acquire land for outdoor recreation and develop or renovate public outdoor recreation facilities such as campgrounds, picnic areas, playfields, swimming facilities, boating and fishing facilities, trails, natural areas and parks.

About the Cleaner Water Program

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, $500 million has been appropriated through a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to provide clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky since 2021.