ARC gives $10 million to projects in Kentucky

Published 3:46 pm Thursday, October 20, 2022


The Appalachian Regional Commission on Monday announced the awarding of nearly $47 million for 52 projects in nine states, to aid diversification efforts in communities suffering job losses in coal mining, coal-fired power plants, and other coal-related supply chain industries.

The ARC grants are through their Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative, or POWER, and is the largest awards package since the program began in 2015.

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Kentucky is receiving nearly $10 million of the awards, for 11 different projects:

• $1.5 million to Perry County Fiscal Court, for the Rowdy Trailhead and Campground Project. Located off KY 476 in the Rowdy community, it will support outdoor recreation and tourism by constructing 30 RV campground sites with full hookups for water, sewer, electric, and cable television, as well as communal facilities (bath house, laundry, and ATV wash bay) and on-site infrastructure (sewage treatment, dumping station, waterlines and security).

• $1.5 million to TEK Center, Inc. in Inez, for the TEK Center Skilled Trades Training project. The project will develop a Skilled Trades Training Center to support low-income individuals, individuals in addiction recovery programs, and dislocated workers such as former coal miners; all of whom are greatly impacted by the decline in coal production and the substance use disorder crisis.

• $1.5 million to the University of Pikeville, for the UPIKE Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence project. Located off U.S. Highway 23 in the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park, the project will develop an agricultural research facility in partnership with the City of Pikeville and will serve seven eastern Kentucky counties. It will aid the region’s growing sustainable agricultural sector.

• $1.5 million to the Community Ventures Corporation in Lexington, for the Appalachia Access to Capital—Phase II—Capital and Technical Assistance project. The project will capitalize a revolving loan fund to increase New Markets Tax Credit investments in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Central Appalachia’s coalfields do not lack potential projects; but many communities do not understand how the program works, how to structure financing, and how to present to investors.

• $1.48 million to Kentucky Horticulture Council in Lexington, for the Growing Eastern KY’s Controlled Environment Production Ecosystem project. The Kentucky Horticulture Council will partner with the University of Kentucky, Community Farm Alliance, and Kentucky Center for Agriculture & Rural Development, to help prospective and established producers establish and grow controlled environment agriculture operations that enable year-round growing.

• $1.2 million to the Big Sandy Area Development District in Prestonsburg, for the Agricultural Apple Sorting & Packing Facility project. The project will conduct sitework at the East Kentucky Business Park to prepare for a new building addition that will serve as a regional apple sorting and packing hub across nine counties in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia.

• $1.14 million to Kentucky Community & Technical College System in Versailles, for the Preparing the Future of American Agriculture: AgTech Apprenticeship project. The project will implement a hands-on training program for entry level workers and build a workforce pipeline for high yield, year-round controlled environment agriculture, or agricultural technology in Appalachia.

• $50,000 to the Mountain Association in Berea, for the EKY Community Accelerator Project. The Eastern Kentucky Community Accelerator will help communities organize, build strong local networks to develop solutions, and seize opportunities that create jobs and economic resiliency.

• $50,000 to the KEEP Foundation in Lexington, for the Eastern Kentucky Equine Community Center Planning project. The project will assess the feasibility of, and provide a business plan for, a proposed Eastern Kentucky Equine Center.

• $48,422 to the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, or FAKY, in Hazard, for the Southeast Kentucky Regional Experience Package Planning Project. The project, fiscally sponsored by FAKY and led by Leslie County Betterment, will coordinate tourism initiatives in Southeast Kentucky to build and market regional experience packages.

• $46,838 to FAKY, for the Southeast Kentucky Regional Trails Planning Project. It will create a comprehensive outdoor adventure development, marketing and maintenance plan for Southeast Kentucky capitalizing on the potential community economic and health impacts of outdoor recreation.