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FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2023) – On Thursday (1-19-23), Kentucky’s Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman presented ceremonial checks representing $4.9 million in funding for projects in McCreary County. The funding will improve water infrastructure, vocational education, and bolster McCreary County’s local park and tourism industry.
“Investments in education and infrastructure, like clean water, roads and bridges provide Kentucky a solid foundation for building tomorrow’s economy, today,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “What excites me, as a rural Kentuckian, is that opportunity is coming to all corners of the commonwealth.”
The funding for McCreary County is allotted through: the Better Kentucky Plan’s Cleaner Water Program (CWP) and Better Schools Program; a Kentucky Department of Tourism grant funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA); and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The McCreary County Water District was awarded $1,025,856 in CWP funds to improve two water treatment plants and one wastewater treatment plant.
The McCreary County School District was awarded $3,888,400 through LAVEC to expand and renovate the Agriculture Education program area at McCreary County High School. Additionally, the school district will expand the existing vocational training area to accommodate a welding lab.
“The increased LAVEC funding will provide upgrades to our pathways for equipment, field trips, and supplies,” Superintendent John Gunn said. “Our students will exit high school with training and experiences making them career-ready. Successful transition is critical to the futures of our students and the growth of our community. We are very appreciative!”
Lt. Gov. Coleman also announced the McCreary County Fiscal Court has been selected to receive $54,859 in federal funding to install accessible playground equipment at the County Park. The project must first undergo review by the National Parks Service.
“We are excited to be able to add a handicap-accessible playground to our county park,” McCreary County Magistrate Bobby Strunk said.
The McCreary County Tourist Commission was awarded a $29,884 grant from the Kentucky Department of Tourism, funded by ARPA, to boost tourism and the economy following the decline in visitors brought on by the pandemic.
“This ARPA funding will vastly benefit McCreary County. As a tourist commission that operates on a smaller budget than most of the state, this grant allows McCreary Tourism opportunities to promote our area on a much larger platform,” said McCreary County Tourist Commission Executive Director Michelle Perry. “McCreary County is the playground for every outdoor enthusiast, and this funding will make it possible to highlight our assets through more marketing and expanding our advertisement. This investment better equips us with the ability to support our mission to drive economic growth. We are incredibly thankful for this investment in McCreary County!”
“The funds today are going to help residents in McCreary County in their daily lives,” said McCreary County Judge/Executive Jimmie Greene. “We want more people visiting, we want our children to have more opportunities and we want our infrastructure to be reliable and accessible. When we can have a positive impact on the daily life of our people, we can call it a good day’s work.”
“Today’s announcement celebrates the almost $5 million in taxpayer dollars that are set aside for projects and services that make a tremendous difference here in this community,” said state Rep. Ken Upchurch. “While some of these funds come from the federal COVID relief funds and some came from general fund dollars, I am proud to be a part of a legislature that chose to make investments that will help Kentuckians for generations. I also appreciate the Lieutenant Governor’s role in bringing attention to these fund and agencies like the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority and Tourism for their efforts to get the money out.”
About ARPA Tourism Funding
Funded by ARPA, $75 million was supported by the Governor and allocated by the General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session. The funds are allocated by the Kentucky Department of Tourism to eligible tourism organizations throughout the commonwealth.
About the Cleaner Water Program Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, $500 million has been appropriated through a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to provide clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky since 2021. The 2022 funding will be allocated based on each county’s proportion of the state’s population, with the exception of Jefferson County’s share, which is discounted by 50% based on its high per capita allocation from the federal act. As a project progresses, the utility will be reimbursed by Cleaner Water Program funds.
About the Local Area Vocational Education Centers Program
As part of his Better Kentucky Plan, Gov. Beshear awarded Kentucky school districts $75 million to upgrade Vocational Education Centers. The grants were approved by the Kentucky School Facilities Construction Commission Board.
About the Land & Water Conservation Fund
The LWCF provides federal grant funds to protect important natural areas, to acquire land for outdoor recreation and to develop or renovate public outdoor recreation facilities such as campgrounds, picnic areas, sports and playfields, swimming facilities, boating facilities, fishing facilities, trails, natural areas and passive parks. To receive the federal funds, which are administered at the state level by the Department for Local Government, selected applicants must undergo federal review and receive approval from the National Park Service.