Several groups in Eastern Kentucky have been recommended for grants aimed at diversifying and boosting the region’s economy, Gov. Matt Bevin’s office announced Thursday.
The executive board of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, recommended a total of $1.5 million for 11 projects through the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development Fund, according to a news release.
The recommended recipients and amounts are:
▪ $250,000 to Hazard Community & Technical College for a tele-health technician certification program.
▪ $250,000 to Big Sandy Community & Technical College for a program to boost the technical community in the region.
▪ $248,871 to Morehead State University for a program to boost lifelong science and technology learning. The program will be in Martin County, according to Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR.
▪ $148,832 to Community Farm Alliance for a program to boost agriculture.
▪ $125,200 to Harlan County Fiscal Court to start an economic development office.
▪ $125,000 to One East Kentucky for an economic development program.
▪ $100,000 to the city of Pikeville to improve the local farmers market.
▪ $95,200 to the Owsley County Action Team to set up a hub where people may train for tele-works jobs.
▪ $78,000 to Prestonsburg for a broadband study.
▪ $65,000 to Perry County for an Internet project.
▪ $12,500 to the Coal Fields Authority to pay for an environmental certification at the industrial park near Hazard.
Bevin said the recipients would receive funding within the next few months, pending final approval by the state Department for Local Government.
The Kentucky legislature set up the regional development fund in 2015, and SOAR solicited applications.
“These projects will not only expand job creation and enhance regional opportunity, but they will improve the quality of life for our fellow citizens living in Appalachian Kentucky,” Bevin said in a statement.
Competition for the money was stiff. There was only $1.5 million available, andfunding requests totaled $14 million, Arnett said.
Many in the region had hoped the grant program would be renewed to cover additional requests, but the legislature did not appropriate any money to the development fund this year, Arnett said.