FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin Wednesday joined state and local officials in Eastern Kentucky to celebrate over $5.2 million in funding for economic development projects in Floyd County.
The projects were selected for grants through the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, as part of the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot program to revitalize the coalfields in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.
The city of Prestonsburg was selected to receive $185,000 to conduct planning and feasibility studies to develop the Levisa and Russell Forks as a Blue Water Trail.
The Kentucky Coal Heritage Trail was selected to receive $225,000 to develop a comprehensive inventory of coal-related buildings, and vacant historic sites in the 20 ARC coal counties of Southeast Kentucky. Once completed, the inventory will help launch reclamation efforts and tourism activities related to the rich coal mining heritage of the region.
Southern Water and Sewer District was selected to receive $1.5 million to replace water meters serving its residential and commercial customers, install a radio read metering system, and replace and install additional master meters throughout the system.
The three projects were first unveiled Friday at the SOAR Summit in Pikeville, along with two additional AML Pilot grants for the Eastern Kentucky Business Park, which serves Floyd, Jackson, Magoffin, Martin and Pike Counties. The grants for the business park total $3.37 million and will boost business recruitment efforts and economic development for the five counties.
“The AML Pilot grants announced for Floyd County will have a ripple effect across the region,” said Bevin. “These investments range from infrastructure improvement to tourism development, and I am confident that each will have a positive impact for the community. We are grateful to Congressman Rogers for his continued strong partnership as we work together to spur job creation and increased economic growth in Eastern Kentucky.”
“The AML Pilot Program allows us to focus funding where it’s needed the most in each county, to address pressing needs for infrastructure improvements, tourism enhancements, workforce training, and the like. We are revitalizing Southern and Eastern Kentucky from every corner to create more jobs and a brighter future in our region,” said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., who championed the AML Pilot Program and secured $105 million in federal funding for Kentucky since 2016, alongside U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely said the projects will bring significant economic development and tourism dollars to the region. “We are pleased to be part of this revitalization,” Secretary Snavely said.
The AML Pilot Program, funded through OSMRE, is a program administered by the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands with assistance from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Department for Local Government, and the SOAR Initiative in Eastern Kentucky.