Gov. Steve Beshear made a big announcement which he said will improve access to public transportation in Hindman.
Folks at the Leslie, Knott, Letcher and Perry Community Action Council said the just more than $5 million grant is something they applied for nearly two years ago.
“Transportation in rural eastern Kentucky is a huge problem, it always has been,” said LKLP Executive Director Rick Baker.
Baker said that problem must be solved for a better future.
“One of the hugest, largest factors in eliminating poverty in rural areas is transportation, it always has been,” said Baker.
“It's a major, major issue… it is even more of an issue because of the terrain.”
Beshear said the “Livability Grant” will revitalize downtown Hindman, by renovating the old Knott County Jail into a public transportation hub and parking structure for LKLP.
Baker said people can park their cars at the facility and hitch a ride through the agency for a small fee to get to where they need to go.
Officials said the mountains make it difficult for many to go places.
“Typically you can't go around a mountain so the trips we do are twice as long as anywhere else. because you are constantly backtracking,” said Baker.
“You have to go up this way and you can't cut across to pick people up.”
Baker said the wear-and-tear on vehicles is also something he knew people considered when commuting to work or school. He said he hoped this new public transportation system could help that.
Those who work near the site of the hub said they think it will be a positive change and believe it could also help the economy.
“The more we can get the word out about what we are doing here and the settlement school and the community college it just helps us all,” said John Trusty, Executive Director of the Appalachian Artisan Center.
“If one entity or building is improved, it makes us all look better.”
Trusty said he hoped more people would be able to take advantage of classes at the center and other schools in the Hindman area with the hub being so close. He also said it could be a good thing for business since the Appalachian Artisan Center also has a café and gift shop.
Baker said the facility will be named after the late Sgt. Charlie Cornett, a former deputy state police commissioner who worked and volunteered for the agency for 25 years..
He said it was the Knott County native's dying wish to build something to connect the people of Hindman through LKLP.
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