Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers announced Eastern Kentucky PRIDE has been awarded a $1.15 million POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for a new tourism marketing campaign that will rebrand 41-counties across Southern and Eastern Kentucky as “The Kentucky Wildlands.”
“For more than 20 years, PRIDE volunteers have done a wonderful job cleaning up our hillsides, lakes and streams. As their environmental work continues, I applaud PRIDE for engaging in tourism-related efforts to let the rest of the world know that we live in one of the most beautiful and adventurous parts of the country,” said Congressman Rogers, who launched Eastern Kentucky PRIDE in 1997. “The Kentucky Wildlands appropriately captures the majesty of our Appalachian mountains and the wildlife that can be found throughout our region. New tourism opportunities are rapidly developing in our counties, like new hiking and biking trails, new water recreation, ziplining, rock climbing, kayaking and more. This new marketing campaign will help get the word out about all of the new exciting activities that await our tourists.”
For every dollar spent on advertising, $151 is returned with visitor spending and over $15 in state and local revenue. The project establishes a robust marketing and branding plan, with $500,000 set aside for marketing the region, creating a potential revenue of $75.5 million in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
“I want to thank Congressman Rogers and Senator McConnell for championing this project on behalf of the people they serve in this 41-county region. Their support of the grant application ensured that the key decision-makers recognized it as a sound investment of ARC funding,” said Tammie Nazario, President and CEO of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, the nonprofit spearheading the project.
The two-year plan will also foster small business creation as tourism increases in the region.
McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive Nathan Nevels II said the grant award was welcome news, as McCreary County will benefit from the campaign and branding. He noted further details are expected to be announced soon concerning the local benefits.
The announcement is one of 54 investments totaling $44.4 million via ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, a congressionally funded opportunity targeting federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.
“I congratulate PRIDE for being an FY 2019 POWER grantee, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce, and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric. Projects like this help ensure a prosperous future for Appalachia.”
In all Kentucky agencies were awarded over $7 million in funding for various projects through the ARC Power grant.