Gov. Beshear Announces more than $3.6 Million in Grants for Eastern Kentucky Communities

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 1:02 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Governor Andy Beshear announced more than $3.6 Million in grants and road funding awards for seven communities in our area this afternoon through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

The Department for Local Government (DLG) administers the grant funding.

The communities receiving funds are Booneville, Hazard, Morehead, Mount Vernon, and Somerset.

Booneville will use its $1 Million in ARC funds to replace 1,160 water meters throughout the city.

Hazard received $800,00 in ARC funding which will go to the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky. The funding will go towards the Moon, Mars and Beyond Gateway to Tomorrow project, which aims to generate excitement about STEM careers and NASA’s “Return to the Moon by 2024” missions.

The project also includes an interactive science center, an outreach program in schools for students who cannot travel to the center, virtual programs and the establishment of a Moon, Mars and Beyond Facilitation Team.

“On behalf of the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky Board of Directors and staff, I would like to thank Gov. Beshear and the Appalachian Regional Commission for this grant award, which is an investment in the future of the Challenger Learning Center,” said Challenger Learning Center Executive Director Tom Cravens. “ARC was the Challenger Learning Center’s first investor when the Center originally opened in 1999, and we appreciate this grant, which will kick off the third decade of this innovative STEM learning Center.”

Teach for America Appalachia in Hazard also received $500, 000 to recruit, train, and keep K-12 teachers in the region by offering new training opportunities and incentives.

The project will recruit 290 teachers and plans to retain at least 250 past their initial two-year contract. This project would serve 15 school districts within 12 counties.

Morehead State University (MSU) will use $622,902 in ARC funding to improve research capabilities and academic instruction in space systems engineering and astrophysics.

MSU will use the funding to install a 12-meter satellite-tracking antenna for research, student training, and to support NASA missions.

The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED), located in Somerset, will use $108,000 in ARC funding for the Eastern Kentucky Economic Development Branding Initiative.

The Center for Rural Development, located in Somerset, will use $300,000 in ARC funding for the Coal Impacted Skills Training (CIST) Program, which aims to provide training opportunities to displaced, unemployed, and underemployed workers in 35 counties impacted by the decline of the coal industry and COVID-19.

The program will fund the development of new branding, stock photo production, and websites for Rockcastle, Rowan, Whitley, and Boyd counties.

The Governor also announced nearly $4 million in funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to a dozen communities for the improvement of local streets and roads.

“These projects will improve the lives of people in Eastern Kentucky. They also further illustrate my administration’s commitment to the region and our promise to protect the commonwealth’s economy despite the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are grateful for the leaders who made these projects possible and for ARC’s continued commitment to Kentucky.”

The Governor was joined at the capital rotunda by Senior Advisor Rocky Adkins and Morehead State University President Dr. Jay Morgan among others.

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