Multi-million dollar grant moves Letcher Co. prison project forward

Published: Sep. 4, 2018 at 7:40 PM EDT
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300 jobs are expected to be created from the new federal prison coming to Letcher County.

It is a project county and state officials say they have been working on for more than 10 years.

One of the major hurdles facing the new facility is building water and sewer infrastructure.

County officials say without that in place, construction cannot begin on the prison.

In an announcement made last week at the SOAR Summit, US Rep. Hal Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin announced million of dollars in grant money for the prison's water infrastructure project.

The $4.5 million grant comes from the Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot Grants.

One man who has worked for years on this project says these funds will help make the prison a reality. He says without the money for the water infrastructure, the project could have been delayed.

"They will need to build a sewage treatment plant nearby", said Elwood Cornett, who is the Co-chair of the Letcher County Planning Commission. "And they have a place in mind already. And of course, they tell us that they need water on site before they start digging. So it's very important to have that ready to go."

The money will be used to install about nine and a half miles of water transmission lines. It will also fund elevated storage tanks and booster pump stations.

The 800 acre penitentiary is expected to hold about 1,200 inmates.

The grant money will also bring water to 100 additional homes in the community.