SOMERSET, Ky.—Six Southern and Eastern Kentucky communities or 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.
U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, announced the grant recipients and presented $54,800 in mini-grants to the winning communities at a strategic planning and awards ceremony held Monday, Feb. 8, at The Center in Somerset.
Recipients include: Tri-Cities Heritage Development in Harlan County; Letcher County Convention and Tourism Commission; City of Prestonsburg; Wayne County Fiscal Court; City of Stanford; and the Harlan County Fiscal Court.
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.
“Leaders across Southern and Eastern Kentucky are visibly active in creating new opportunities to improve our region,” Congressman Rogers said. “The years of planning for downtown revitalization, tourism marketing and economic development projects are now coming to fruition in many of our communities. We’re attracting jobs and tourists thanks to mini-grants in the past.
“With additional funding in 2010, more of our rural communities can follow the same vision of providing more opportunities to our families,” Rogers continued. “These grants give our leaders the ability to work their plans.”
The winners represent the first of two rounds of ARC funding that will be awarded this year by The Center for Rural Development’s Developing and Implementing Community Strategies Program, with the second coming this fall.
“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.
Grant funding amounts—and planned projects in each community—are as follows:
• Tri-Cities Heritage Development (Harlan County)—$8,000 to create a sustainable business plan, create Web pages to introduce businesses to the community and develop an Internet presence, and conduct a technology needs assessment of the Tri-Cities area of Cumberland, Benham, and Lynch.
• Letcher County Convention and Tourism Commission—$8,800 to implement a Web site, develop a tourism video to be used on the Web site, and plan for the next steps of strategic plan implementation.
• City of Prestonsburg—$8,000 to develop a comprehensive plan for the City of Prestonsburg, hire a professional consultant to help with the plan development, and develop the design and layout for a Web site.
• Wayne County Fiscal Court—$10,000 to develop a strategic plan for Wayne County and hire a consultant to help with the plan development and advise on the implementation of parts of the strategic plan.
• City of Stanford —$10,000 to hire a consultant to conduct an assessment of downtown Stanford, develop a strategic plan for the downtown area, and conduct an analysis of the downtown “business mix.”
• Harlan County Fiscal Court —$10,000 to develop a strategic plan for Harlan County and to hire a consultant to help with the plan development.
Representatives of nine communities that previously received ARC mini-grant funding also shared status updates on ongoing projects provided for in strategic plans funded by those grants. Those communities included the cities of Beattyville, Liberty, Mt. Vernon, Corbin, and Paintsville, in addition to Bell, Morgan, Letcher, and Lee counties.
Since 2005, The Center has awarded $210,000 in ARC mini-grant funding to 17 communities across Southern and Eastern Kentucky, paving the way for them to move forward on strategic planning efforts for community development projects.
Counties eligible to apply for ARC funding support through The Center include: Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe. Cities within those counties may also apply.
The Center for Rural Development—the Center of Excellence for rural Kentucky and the nation—provides economic and community development programs to residents in a 42-county primary service area of Southern and Eastern Kentucky, and is home to several statewide and national technology-based programs. For more information on programs available through The Center, visit www.centertech.com.