SOMERSET, Ky.—Ten Southern and Eastern Kentucky communities and organizations have been awarded federal grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to advance strategic planning efforts in the region as part of the latest round of grants presented by The Center for Rural Development.
Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, presented a total of $87,150 in mini-grants to the new recipients at an ARC Summit and awards ceremony held Friday, March 30, at The Center. U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) was a special guest at the event, and commended the awardees for their initiative in applying for the grants.
"Leaders across Southern and Eastern Kentucky have diligently planned their work for downtown revitalization, tourism marketing, and economic development projects with support from the ARC and The Center," said Congressman Rogers. "Now, the region is benefiting from the fruits of their labor and we look forward to what this year's recipients have planned for their hometowns."
Grant funding amounts—and planned projects in each community—are as follows:
• Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky (Knott County)—$9,350 to document and establish a historic district in Hindman.
• Big Sandy Area Development District (Floyd County)—$8,000 to hire a consultant to design and plan consistent signage for the “water trail,” which runs from the Pike/Floyd County line to the Johnson/Lawrence County line.
• City of Wayland (Floyd County)—$5,000 to develop a city website that will serve a dual role as a resource for residents and a means to promote the City of Wayland’s community assets.
• Letcher County Tourism and Convention Commission—$10,000 to develop an architectural rendering of a cultural center with rotating exhibit space.
• Magoffin County Community Foundation—$10,000 to hire a consultant to pursue short- and long-term outcomes related to Appalachian Rural Development Philanthropy Initiative (ARDPI) goals and raise money and community enthusiasm for the Magoffin County Community Foundation.
• Owsley County Historical Society—$10,000 to hire a consultant to help members of the Owsley County Historical Society implement goals outlined in strategic and interpretive plans, and train members on how to present the information to citizens.
• Russell County Chamber of Commerce—$10,000 to create a website to meet the needs of the Russell County Chamber of Commerce and Russell County Tourist Commission.
• Menifee County Community Development Group—$4,800 to develop a strategic plan for Menifee County.
• Brodhead Alliance Committee (Rockcastle County)—$10,000 to hire a consultant to facilitate the development of a strategic plan for the City of Brodhead.
• City of Jenkins (Letcher County)—$10,000 to develop a strategic plan for the City of Jenkins that will address the economic and social fabric of Jenkins.
Funds can be used for either the successful creation of a strategic plan or the implementation of priority community development projects identified in existing strategic plans. All projects must be completed within a six-month period.
The ARC grant funds were awarded through The Center’s Developing and Implementing Community Strategies Program.
“This funding will assist these communities in developing or furthering plans and strategies that will help fuel positive and tangible economic and community development activity in our region for years to come,” Lawson said.
Representatives of four communities that previously received ARC mini-grant funding also shared status updates on ongoing projects outlined in their existing strategic plans. Those communities included Bell, Letcher, and Wayne counties and the City of Wayland.
Since 2005, The Center has awarded more than $490,000 in ARC mini-grant funding to communities or organization in 21 counties across Southern and Eastern Kentucky for strategic planning efforts.
Counties eligible to apply for ARC funding support through The Center include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe. Cities within those counties may also apply.