$3.5 million grant will build sports-gaming resort in Letcher County
As the SOAR conference wrapped up Friday and Letcher county was one of many counties to receive a grant. The $3.5 million grant will be for a competition-ready sports resort, Thunder Mountain.
The park will include sport shooting, firing ranges, lodging, outdoor venues, casting ponds, an obstacle course, and a paintball course.
Missy Matthews, chairman of Letcher County Tourism and founder of EKY Heritage Foundation, says she is excited about the tourism this will bring to the county.
"It is an opportunity for us to do something larger than we could do on our own," she said. "It is the opportunity to bring folks to our area that otherwise may not come."
While Letcher County and surrounding counties offer activities such as ATVs, kayaking and horseback riding, this resort brings something different.
"We believed it was different but it stays true to who we are. Hunting is something very common in our mountains," said Matthews. While putting some excitement to it all. "Part of the 3-D archery allure is being able to put those targets in their natural habitats instead of those being in a clear field with just targets."
Making sure the resort benefits everyone and not just tourists.
"It is like life-size animals and that is something our youth cannot practice on the high school team. They do not have that luxury of having that available to them." That is right. Life-size like animals to help with your target practice.
Judge-Executive Terry Adams hopes the creativity the county used for this idea will spark others.
"This resort will spur on more economic growth maybe some entrepreneurs that want to come into Letcher county," he said.
Also wanting visitors to stay for more southern hospitality than the food.
"There is not enough here to keep people here more than a day or two but if we add this to it we can keep them maybe another day or two," said Matthews.
This big development is estimated to bring more than 40,000 people to Letcher County per year.
Construction will not begin for another year when funds are allocated.