Bell County awarded more than $2 million for community improvements

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 11 p.m. on Saturday
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 7:14 PM EDT
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BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - At the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Governor’s Luncheon on Saturday, Governor Andy Beshear presented more than $2 million in awards to Bell County.

The awards were meant to support economic development, transportation, law enforcement, infrastructure, tourism and nonprofits.

“As we celebrate another year of the Mountain Laurel Festival, we thought we’d bring some more good news to Bell County,” said Gov. Beshear. “Today’s announcements are helping build that brighter future in Kentucky that we all want.”

Middlesboro received more than $244,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The money will help with the deconstruction and cleanup of a four-story building on Cumberland Avenue. The building is the site of the former Middlesboro Elks Home. Once the building is demolished and the site is cleaned, city officials said the lot will be marketed by Discover Downtown Middlesboro for redevelopment.

Nearly $300,000 was awarded to the Pineville Utility Commission to bring public water to unserved homes, and more than $530,000 will go to Pineville to upgrade a leaky waterline.

More than $88,000 in funding was awarded to Bell County Tourism to help marketing efforts. The funds came from the American Rescue Plan Act to help the tourism industry recover after the pandemic.

Middlesboro also received $47,000 to help resurface portions of South 23rd Street.

More than $1,700 was awarded from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security through the Law Enforcement Protection Program. The money will be used to better protect police officers.

Three nonprofits in Bell County also received funding. The awards came from the Nonprofit Assistance Fund. The fund helps organizations across Kentucky recover from the effects of the pandemic. $100,000 went to the Pineville Community Health Center, more than $74,000 went to The Salvation Army of Middlesboro and more than $2,000 went to the Henderson Settlement.

“We are always very appreciative of any grant funds we can get,” said Pineville Mayor Scott Madon. “These funds will be used to upgrade and provide additional protection for our police Dept. Also, the funds to improve our water system will provide better service to many of our residents”

Finally, more than $1.4 million in funding from the Cleaner Water Program was announced to support four projects.

More than $514,000 will go to Middlesboro for improvements at the wastewater treatment plant. More than $119,000 was also awarded to Middlesboro to improve a lift station.