WEST LIBERTY, Ky. (WYMT)- To city leaders, the honor is huge compared to the devastation an EF3 tornado left in its wake more than one year ago.
“We’re hoping that the visibility will bring a whole lot of new investment into West Liberty to help us realize our ambitious goal,” Former Kentucky State Treasurer Jonathan Miller said.
The town of West Liberty will be recognized next week in Chicago by former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative for a project called Rebuilding West Liberty.
“But several months ago, the community got together and decided we want to rebuild the community in a strategic way, to rebuild it better than they found it,” Miller added.
Judge Executive Time Conley says the project focuses on a number of strategies to make the town stronger, not just in a physical way, but also in energy efficiency.
“We want to make sure the homes and buildings we’re building are very high energy efficient buildings that can help us not only conserve energy but show how Appalachian towns can be built to a phase that is business friendly and economically friendly,” Conley said.
The three year project also includes a fiber optic system and downtown Wi-Fi hub paid for by a variety of grants.
“Hopefully not only would the town thrive and jobs be created, it can serve as a model for other disaster ravaged towns or for the rest of rural America,” Miller said.
President Clinton is not a stranger to the mountains; he made a stop in Hazard back in 1999 during a four day tour to encourage businesses to invest in rural communities.
“This tragedy is an opportunity to rebuild ourselves in a new way,” Miller said.
A way that puts West Liberty back on the map.
The Clinton Global Initiative meeting takes place June 13-14th.