FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher and Congressman Hal Rogers today presented the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA) with a ceremonial check for $400,000 for an outreach campaign to entice tourists, boat owners and campers to Lake Cumberland.
The message: Even while lowered to allow repairs to Wolf Creek Dam, Kentucky's third-largest lake has plenty of water - 37,000 surface acres - for boating, recreation and fishing.
"Lake Cumberland is a vital part of the economy for a number of counties in this region. We are being proactive in making everyone aware that the lake is open for business," said Governor Fletcher. "We want tourists to know there is plenty of water for all types of recreation, and Lake Cumberland is as beautiful and accessible as ever."
The funding will allow SEKTDA to create a database of visitors who have enjoyed Lake Cumberland in the past. Contact information for the database will be gathered from local businesses and from organizations in surrounding states, such as boat and camper dealers. E-mail, fax and call contacts will be made over the winter months as people start going to boat shows and planning vacations for 2008. SEKTDA will also continue its television, radio and newspaper promotion campaign.
SEKTDA will work closely with marina owners and operators, businesses dependent on the lake and other organizations to develop outreach opportunities.
"This funding will ensure we reach the loyal customers of Lake Cumberland with an important message: 'Welcome back,'" said Congressman Rogers. "I am proud of all the people at our marinas, hotels and campgrounds who are working hard to continue our tradition of making Lake Cumberland a top destination."
The Corps announced in January that it would lower Lake Cumberland to repair erosion of its impoundment, Wolf Creek Dam. The lake level is being held at 43 feet below summer pool. The Corps recently announced it did not intend to lower the lake level further.
The funding to SEKTDA, which is from the Governor's Office for Local Development, is the latest of Governor Fletcher's many actions to help residents and business owners in the Lake Cumberland region adapt to the emergency. Major initiatives included a targeted advertising campaign in northern states, $25 million in emergency funding to enable water utilities to move or extend intakes and extensions of more than 40 boat ramps.
$200,000 for Center for Rural Development Implementing Community Strategies Program
Governor Fletcher also announced a $200,000 Appalachian Regional Commission Flex-E-Grant to the Center for Rural Development to expand its Implementing Community Strategies program to assist up to 17 distressed counties.
The grant will provide the counties with seed money to complete components of their county strategic plans that may not have been completed otherwise.
Mini grants will be in the amount of $10,000 each with a $3,125 local match.
Past projects include a Water Loss Study in Letcher County, a Bottled Water Feasibility Study in Harlan County, architectural plans for a 911 Center and the Elk Visitors Center in Leslie County and grants for community enhancement projects in Owsley County.