2017 SOAR Summit wraps up in Pikeville

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Bringing a vision for a 21st century Appalachia.

The message is clear and now leaders say it is time to put the foot forward on more action.

Some major players spoke at the SOAR Summit on Friday in Pikeville, including Governor Matt Bevin, Congressman Hal Rogers and UK men's basketball coach John Calipari.

Officials say the common theme at the event was enthusiasm.

David Nevill is a small business owner. He says he believes the optimism at the summit will fuel innovation, in this so called "Silicon Holler."

"We could take coal miners and do high tech jobs like that. They would not believe that, but guess what, it's happening right here, right now," said Nevill.

"A couple of things have been reinforced. That there are a lot of good folks here and there are a lot of good opportunities and there are a lot of good folks pushing those opportunities," said Nevill.

While some folks remain skeptical of the progress that leaders say they can make here, Governor Matt Bevin says it is something we should move past.

"Maybe some of the things that we wanted turned out smaller than we had wanted. We can begrudge that or we can be grateful that we are out of the gate," said Gov. Bevin.

Congressman Hal Rogers announced a grant this week that will help cities like Prestonsburg and Pikeville. The grant was for around $4.85 million.

Leaders said many projects will need internet and they say that broadband is one area the region is behind in.

Governor Bevin said in the past, the best year Kentucky ever had in private capital investment was $5 billion. This year alone, he said we have seen $7 billion.

"You couldn't help but come in here more encouraged than when you came in," said. Gov. Bevin.

It was also announced a California company could possibly locate in Pike County.

If they do, it could bring 500 to 600 jobs to the area.

"The buzz is out there, the word is out there. The biggest companies in the world are coming to us. We no longer have to hunt the elephants the elephants are wandering through Kentucky, see what's going on," said. Gov. Bevin.

Congressman Rogers also announced a grant of $200,000 dollars to the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation.

The grant will help 12 companies in Eastern Kentucky become ISO certified.

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