Gov. Beshear Presents More Than $3.8 Million To Benefit Clay and Leslie Counties

- 08/07/2023

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MANCHESTER, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2023) – Today, in Manchester, Gov. Andy Beshear announced $3.8 million in funding to extend clean drinking water to unserved homes, aid Kentuckians recovering from addiction, enhance economic development, increase regional tourism, improve accessible transportation and bolster nonprofits in Clay and Leslie counties.

“Every dollar announced and celebrated today will make a Kentuckian’s life better,” said Gov. Beshear. “These are common-sense projects that are moving Kentucky forward. We’re investing in our people, which is always the best investment.”

“I’m excited about these awards, the opportunities for continuing to create better health care, economic development and growth, and to see the impact on bringing and keeping people here in this community,” said Senate President Robert Stivers.

“The funding announced today will go a long way in Clay County by aiding nonprofit organizations, increasing access to clean drinking water and growing our tourism,” said Rep. Derek Lewis of London. “Our local nonprofits strengthen the community by providing educational, health and social services. The Cleaner Water Program will help everyone in our community live a better and safer life. Additionally, the tourism marketing funding will help increase tourism to the city of Manchester. Tourism plays an integral role to our economy.”

“Today, we celebrated investments in our most valuable resource: our people,” said Clay County Judge/Executive Tommy Harmon. “By recognizing and promoting some amazing organizations, enhancing economic development and improving our infrastructure, we’re giving our people opportunities to get ahead. When we can work together on the local and state levels, days like today are possible.”

Cleaner Water Program
Gov. Beshear announced the commitment of $617,926 to the North Manchester Water Association from the Cleaner Water Program. The funds will provide public water service to 15 previously unserved homes. The funding will also rehab outdated waterlines and make upgrades to a pump station.

Gov. Beshear also announced the commitment of $617,925 to the city of Manchester. The funds will help rehab three water tanks that serve homes and businesses in Clay County.

Appalachian Regional Commission Funds
Gov. Beshear celebrated over $2 million in funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to Clay and Leslie counties. These projects are selected for funds by the ARC based upon the recommendation of Gov. Beshear. Gov. Beshear currently serves as the co-chair of the ARC.

The Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOA) will use $952,754 to renovate a building in downtown Manchester into a combination of restaurant, retail, office and supportive housing space. The building will be divided into four spaces: a commercial kitchen available to a new or emerging food business; the Mountain Market, a retail store selling Appalachian artisanal products operated by the VOA and staffed by clients who receive employment training; two apartments for VOA clients who have completed the first stage of substance use recovery; and a flexible co-working office space for entrepreneurs and teleworkers who cannot operate from elsewhere in the county due to a lack of reliable high-speed internet.
The Hyden-Leslie Water Association will use $723,000 to extend public water service to 200 households and improve water service for 3,342 households and 263 businesses.
The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation used $394,483 to hire William Tal Jones as the new Economic Development Director of the FOCUS Group, a regional economic development organization that spearheads economic development initiatives in Southeastern Kentucky.
Tourism Marketing Funding
Gov. Beshear awarded $28,557 to the Manchester-Clay County Tourism Commission to support travel marketing and promotion. The award is part of the $75 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding announced by the Governor in July to boost the state’s tourism industry and economy.

“This ARPA funding got Manchester its first-ever billboard on I-75 just by the Berea exit,” said Executive Director of the Manchester-Clay County Tourism Commission Tim Parks. “We also were able to do an advertisement campaign with iHeart media that is running as we speak. The money is being put to good use!”

The funds are distributed by the Kentucky Department of Tourism to eligible tourism organizations throughout the commonwealth.

Federal Transit Administration
Gov. Beshear celebrated $220,000 in funds from the Federal Transit Administration to help the Daniel Boone Community Action Administration purchase five new wheelchair-accessible vans. The vans will provide transportation for Kentuckians in Clay, Jackson, Lee, Owsley and Wolfe counties.

Nonprofit Assistance Fund
Gov. Beshear announced $288,727 went to four local nonprofits in Clay County. The awards come from the Team Kentucky Nonprofit Assistance Fund, which is helping organizations across Kentucky recover from the impacts of the pandemic. The funding comes from the federal ARPA, and Gov. Beshear supported the allocation of funds by the 2022 General Assembly. This funding provided one-time, direct relief payments to support the mission and long-term sustainability of each eligible nonprofit.

Gov. Beshear announced the funding went to the below organizations:

$100,000 went to the Red Bird Mission Inc.;
$100,000 went to the Kentucky Mountain Housing Development Corp. Inc.;
$66,124 went to the Red Bird Clinic Inc.; and
$22,613 went to the Thompson Scholars Foundation.
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