Kentucky Economic Development Projects Receive $ 9 Million In Funding From Abandoned Mining Land

Kentucky officials announced Monday that 10 economic development projects in the eastern part of the state have received funding from a federal program created to reclaim abandoned mines.

Almost $ 9.2 million has been allocated to the projects, according to a press release from Governor Andy Beshear and U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, R-Ky.

The money comes from the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) program, which is part of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the US Department of the Interior. The program has allocated $ 665 million in funds since its launch five years ago, including $ 140 million for Kentucky.

Rogers said the program serves as an example of how government leaders at all levels can work together to improve communities.

“This grant program creates jobs, advances vital community projects and brings hope to eastern Kentucky,” said Rogers. “I am proud of what we have achieved so far with these grants and the work underway to meet the needs of our people. “

The Secretary of the State’s Cabinet for Energy and the Environment, Rebecca Goodman, selected the projects that have undergone federal review for funding. In total, the firm’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands received 70 applications for this year’s funding round.

Projects in 54 Kentucky counties that have historic coal mining sites are eligible to receive funding. Applications are evaluated based on the benefits they will bring through new jobs, additional students trained or increased tourism. The projects or the community must also have a link with land exploited before May 1982.

Funding recipients for this year include Cold Storage LLC, which will receive $ 2.5 million to convert a commercial building in Martin County into a cold storage facility that will store apples for up to one year after picking.

Three projects will each receive $ 1 million:

• In Letcher County, the Cowan Community Action Group will use its funding to install a cold store, commercial kitchen equipment, washrooms, office and stage at its Farmers Market Pavillion. The funding will also be used to expand its food service kitchen and provide a food truck.

• The Leslie County Tax Court will use its funding to expand the county’s recreation facility to include a campground with 70 RV parking lots and a 40,000 square foot entertainment pavilion.

• The town of Ashland will devote its money to the engineering and design of a convention center; a project Beshear said at a press conference Monday that the city has needed for years.

Other funded projects include $ 750,000 to purchase a 20,000 square foot facility in Knox County that will be leased by the Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College to operate a diesel mechanic shop and driver’s license test facility. commercial. Hazard Community and Technical College will use its $ 280,000 grant to purchase the equipment needed to expand its utility lineman training program.

Over the five years, 63 Kentucky projects in 23 counties received funding. While the combined projects have created 143 jobs, many are still in development. Officials predict that the winners will create more than 2,800 jobs when all are completed.

Beshear said AMLER funding is a way for the state to invest in workforce development, and he said the budget he will present to state lawmakers for the 2022 session will better position the state for future growth.

“You will see significant investments in our infrastructure, in our people, in our education and in our health,” he said. “We are ready to become an economic leader, and we must take the necessary steps to be ready not only to lead, but to continue to be a leader for decades to come.”