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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.4 Million in Kentucky to Support Business and Job Growth

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $3.4 million in grants to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to help spur economic activity in Stearns and support industrial development in Hazard.

“The Trump Administration is committed to putting former coal industry employees back to work,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will help spur innovation, aid workers, and stimulate economies which once solely relied on coal.”

“We are grateful for the investments made in the Stearns and Hazard communities by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Trump Administration,” said Governor Bevin. “The funds will help us complete two exciting projects in Eastern Kentucky and boost ongoing economic development efforts in the region. Eastern Kentucky has incredible upside potential, and we are thankful for the support that these funds will provide in recruiting private investment and new jobs.”

“I extend my congratulations to the McCreary County Heritage Foundation for being awarded the necessary resources to revitalize some of Kentucky’s treasured locations, particularly those listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “In this historic coal community, an injection of federal funding can help increase tourism and spur economic growth around the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. As these Kentuckians continue their work to restore the beauty of these heritage sites, I was proud to do my part to help.”

“Joining with leaders in Eastern Kentucky, I was also proud to support an investment of federal resources to promote economic growth in the City of Hazard, continued Senator McConnell. “By equipping the Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park with a new natural gas connection, the community will continue to attract new opportunities that support job creation. In Kentucky’s struggling rural areas, I am committed to standing with those looking to encourage economic development, and I would like to commend the Hazard community for this award.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • McCreary County Heritage Foundation will receive $2 million to renovate and revitalize the downtown historic area in Stearns. This project is aimed at expanding the community’s tourism industry to increase economic opportunity and activity.
  • The City of Hazard will receive $1.4 million to provide a natural gas line directly to the Coalfields Regional Industrial Park, to support business growth and expansion. According to grantee estimates, this project is expected to create 1,500 jobs and spur $100 million in private investment.

These projects were made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Lake Cumberland Area Development District and the Kentucky River Area Development District, respectively. EDA funds the Lake Cumberland Area Development District and the Kentucky River Area Development District to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

These projects are funded under the 2018 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2108) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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