Gov. Beshear, Congressman Rogers Award More Than $9 Million in Grants to Support Economic Development Projects in Eastern Kentucky

Funding supports projects in 10 Eastern Kentucky counties

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced $9.18 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Program funds for economic development projects in 10 Eastern Kentucky counties.

“When completed, these projects will help support local communities and spur economic growth in Martin, Letcher, Floyd, Leslie, Knox, Knott, Owsley, Boyd, Pike and Perry counties,” said Gov. Beshear. “This program has a proven record of creating jobs in Eastern Kentucky, and these grants are another solid building block to help us build a better Kentucky for all of our families.”

Congressman Rogers, along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has championed $665 million in federal funding for the AMLER Program since 2016, of which $140 million has been awarded to Kentucky.

“This grant program is creating jobs, advancing vital community projects and restoring hope in Eastern Kentucky. I am proud of what we have accomplished through these grants thus far and the ongoing work to meet the needs of our people,” said Congressman Rogers. “This program is a great example of how federal, state and local governments can work together to invest in projects that greatly benefit our communities across Southern and Eastern Kentucky.”

Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman selected the projects for initial vetting by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). More than 70 applications for funding in 2021 were received by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.

The projects selected for funding include:

  • Cold Storage LLC was awarded $2.5 million for construction of an agriculture cold storage facility in Martin County in which an underutilized existing spec building will be converted into a refrigerated commercial facility allowing apples to be stored up to a year after picking.
  • Cowan Community Action Group Inc. was awarded $1 million to equip the Farmers Market Pavilion with cold storage, commercial equipment, restrooms, an office and stage, and to expand the Cowan food service kitchen as well as equip a food truck.
  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare was awarded $750,000 to equip the Highlands ARH Medical Center in Prestonsburg with a diagnostic CT scanner and mammogram equipment.
  • Leslie County Fiscal Court was awarded $1 million to expand the Leslie County Recreational Facility by constructing a camping complex with 114 picnic tables, stationary grills and fire pit rings. Almost 70 RV pads will be constructed, as well as a 40,000-square-foot entertainment pavilion that will include an event stage, roadway and parking.
  • The City of Booneville was awarded $600,000 for construction of cabins to allow for overnight accommodations at the Sag Hollow Golf Club.
  • KCEOC Community Action Partnership Inc. was awarded $750,000 to purchase an existing 20,000-square-foot building on 10 acres in Knox County for a diesel mechanics shop and CDL test site. KCEOC will lease the facility to Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College, which will operate the training facility.
  • The City of Ashland was awarded $1 million to engineer and design a parking garage and convention center in downtown Ashland.
  • Pike County Fiscal Court was awarded $700,000 to install 3,000 feet of electric lines at the Wolfpit Industrial & Technology Park.
  • The Knott County Water District was awarded $600,000 for the purchase of two backup generators for the system that produces water for three counties, servicing 7,000 citizens.
  • Hazard Community & Technical College was awarded $280,000 for equipment purchases for the expansion of its successful lineman training program.

“These grants are highly sought after and are providing the kind of job growth and economic stimulus that we hoped this funding program would produce,” Secretary Goodman said. “We are excited to have helped launch these projects.”

AMLER grants are available for projects in 54 Appalachian counties in Kentucky with historic coal mining sites that have the potential to create long-term economic benefits.

Since the AMLER program’s inception in 2016, 63 projects in 23 counties have been selected for the funding. The program has generated 143 jobs so far, including 83 new positions at the Dajcor aluminum extrusion project in Perry County and more than 258 workers trained at the East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) and at Hazard Community and Technical College. In addition, officials report a good volume of reservations being made at Impact Outdoors and the Prestonsburg-to-David Rails to Trails projects. Once completed, these 63 grantees are projected to have created more than 2,800 new jobs.  

Information about the AMLER Program can be found at AMLER or by contacting Justin Adams, director, Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, 300 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort, KY 40601. Office: 502-782-6761, e-mail: Justin.Adams@ky.gov.

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