$10.5 million in grants announced for economic, job development in Eastern Kentucky

Published: Aug. 31, 2018 at 10:22 AM EDT
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Two grants worth $10.5 million are coming to Eastern Kentucky, in the hopes of economic development and job creation.

Representative Hal Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin made the announcement at the 2018 Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit Friday in Pikeville.

Letcher County will receive $4.5 million for a water expansion project. This will serve 100 additional homes and the new federal correctional facility coming to Roxana. Officials plan to install 9.5 miles of water transmission lines, elevated storage tanks, booster pump stations and a wastewater treatment plant.

The incoming penitentiary is projected to house more than 1,200 inmates and hire about 300 full-time staff.

The second grant of $6 million will go to EnerBlu, Inc. to build a one million-square-foot, energy-efficient, manufacturing facility in Pikeville. The facility will make lithium titanate batteries, battery packs and modules, battery systems, hybrid generator-storage unite, micro-grid systems and electric bus and truck assembly.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet's (EEC) Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot program awarded the two grants.

“Eastern Kentucky’s AML Pilot Projects are doing exactly what they were designed to do – reuse our land to create good-paying jobs for our families and help boost our struggling Appalachian economy,” Rep. Rogers said.

"We are grateful for an additional federal AML allocation that will be designated for economic development projects in our Appalachian counties," said Gov. Matt Bevin. "This is another valuable tool that many Eastern Kentucky communities are utilizing to help revitalize their economies."

Alongside the two grants, EnerBlu and the City of Pikeville plan to provide about $21.65 million in funds for property purchase, road construction and infrastructure construction at the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park. Officials say they expect this to create more than 900 jobs in three years, not including construction jobs.