2022 SOAR Summit kicks off in Pikeville

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Updated: Oct. 19, 2022 at 2:45 PM EDT
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Shaping Our Appalachian Region’s 2022 Summit got underway on Wednesday morning at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in downtown Pikeville.

“It’s really Appalachia’s premiere event, I mean, it’s not just Eastern Kentucky’s premiere event,” said SOAR Executive Director Colby Hall. I don’t think people realize it. Obviously, 60 plus counties in the state represented, six plus states.”

Around 1,500 people registered for this year’s summit, with folks from all sectors from agriculture to healthcare to technology to local government represented.

Throughout day one, people were learning and asking important questions.

“Over the next 10 years, you know, where do we want to be as a region,” Hall added. “Trying to think about what are those metrics? How do we measure ourselves? How do we try to overcome some of those obstacles and barriers that are in front of us? But, the biggest message is, we’re going to go a lot further together.”

During the afternoon’s plenary session, several grants were awarded by Co-Chairs Gov. Andy Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers for economic development projects throughout Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Knox, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, and Wolfe Counties.

“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.”

“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 Hal Rogers, Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives. “These grants will give Eastern Kentuckians more opportunities to work and thrive in their hometowns.”

These projects include:

• $6.6 million for the installation of an apple packing and sorting facility to Agricultural Apple Packing and Sorting Facility in Martin County.

• $1 million to CMH 23 Workforce and Tourism Development Project to modify and equip the broadcasting studio at the Mountain Arts Studio in Floyd County.

• $4.6 million to the Elliott County Emergency Operations and 911 Center to construct an emergency services center.

• $1 million to the Gifford Road Industrial Park in Magoffin County to build a 50,000 square foot facility.

• $900,000 to Impact Outdoor Adventures RV Campground to build multi-purpose buildings, yurts, and a tree-top adventure course in Clay County.

• $1.2 million to the Southeaster Transportation Training Center to develop a CDL and diesel mechanics training facility in Knox County.

• $1.6 million to the Stearns RV Park and Campground to build an RV park and campground in McCreary County.

• $3 million to the Thunder Ridge Property Acquisition to buy 58 acres to develop the Thunder Ridge Industrial Park where Boxvana intends to build a 200,000 square foot facility in Floyd County

• $1.7 million to begin development on Raven Rock Resort in Letcher County

• $1.4 million to the Hazel Green Wastewater Collection System to build an 80,000-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant in Wolfe County.

• $2 million to the Royalton Trail Town Development to build 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,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said. “We are excited to have helped launch these projects.”

WYMT will also carry Thursday’s Plenary Session featuring Rep. Rogers, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin, among others. That will air from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and also be featured on-air, on our website and on the WYMT Facebook page.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11