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$10.5 million announced for economic development and job creation in Eastern Kentucky

State Scoop

U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) and Governor Matt Bevin today announced two grants worth $10.5 million to spur economic development and job creation in Eastern Kentucky. 

Letcher County will receive $4.5 million for a water expansion project that will serve 100 additional households and the future federal correctional facility in Roxana.

The funding will be used to install approximately 9.5 miles of water transmission lines, along with elevated storage tanks and booster pump stations, and a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) to support the 800-acre penitentiary, which will house more than 1,200 inmates and employ approximately 300 full-time staff.

EnerBlu, Inc., which manufactures low cost, high-power batteries, will receive $6 million to locate a one million-square-foot, energy-efficient, manufacturing facility in Pikeville at the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park. The facility will produce lithium titanate (LTO) batteries, battery packs and modules, battery systems, hybrid generator-storage units, micro-grid systems, and electric bus and truck assembly.

EnerBlu and the City of Pikeville will provide approximately $21.65 million “in-kind” funds for property purchase, road construction and infrastructure construction to the site location. Not including construction activities, this project is anticipated to create over 900 jobs within a three-year period.

The two grants were awarded through the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, as part of the 2017 Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot program to revitalize the coalfields in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.

Both projects were unveiled at the 2018 Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit in Pikeville by Gov. Bevin and by Congressman Rogers, who championed $195 million in federal funding for the AML Pilot program since 2016, of which $80 million has been awarded to Kentucky.

“Eastern Kentucky’s AML Pilot Projects are doing exactly what they were designed to do — reuse our land to create good-paying jobs for our families and help boost our struggling Appalachian economy,” Rep. Rogers said.

“We are grateful for an additional federal AML allocation that will be designated for economic development projects in our Appalachian counties,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “This is another valuable tool that many Eastern Kentucky communities are utilizing to help revitalize their economies.”

The prison facility at Roxana is expected to provide an indirect revenue stream of approximately $3 million to $4 million to Letcher County and the surrounding Appalachian communities. The estimated 264,000 gallons of water purchased from Knott County each day will bring an estimated $289,000 to Knott County per year.

EEC Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely said the projects show how Kentucky is continuing to invest in businesses that will bring jobs to Eastern Kentucky.

“It is rewarding to see so many worthy projects get funding so that they can be an important part of the economic rebuilding of Eastern Kentucky,” Sec. Snavely said.

The AML Pilot project is a joint effort by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Department for Local Government, the SOAR initiative in Eastern Kentucky, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.

(provided by Office of the Governor)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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