EKY communities receive grants for strategic planning

SOMERSET, Ky. (WYMT) - Several Eastern Kentucky communities are getting help for local projects in the form of mini-grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The cities of Jenkins, Manchester, Mt. Vernon, Salyersville and Paintsville, as well as the group Discover Downtown Middlesboro, are all recipients in the latest round of grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

"It's been extremely valuable to these communities that don't have resources set aside to do strategic planning efforts for their entire community, or a portion of their community," said Ronnie Lawson, president and CEO of the Center for Rural Development.

The awards were presented by The Center. Officials say the grants give community activists the tools they need to make things happen.

Recipients can use the mini-grants to develop strategic plans to help their communities grow, or they can use it pay for specific items on existing plans, either way they will have six months to complete the projects.

These mini-grants will help communities realize their vision, on a fairly small scale, but at least it gets them thinking about helping themselves an this is a way to help them help themselves," said Fifth District Representative Hal Rogers.

The City of Jenkins received $9,000 to hire a consultant to design a lake walk around downtown Elkhorn Lake and other projects.

"As it turned out it was one of the best things that ever happened for our city, because it led us into a lot of interaction with the people of the City of Jenkins," said Jenkins mayor G.C. Kincer. "It gave ownership to citizens of our city."

In all, ten southern and eastern Kentucky communities were awarded a total of $84,000 in grants Thursday.

Since 2005, the Center for Rural Development has issued more than $577,000 in ARC mini-grant funding in 21 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky.

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