Aug 24 2016
U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) applauds a $1.46 million federal grant awarded to the University of Kentucky Research Foundation for a new Downtown Revitalization in the Promise Zone project. The project is expected to create 24 new downtown businesses, 72 new jobs and leverage $800,00 in private investment. The competitive award was announced today by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as part of the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative that Rogers helped fund through his role as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
"We have some of the most beautiful and unique downtown areas in the country, and it's time to fill those empty storefronts and put people back to work on Main Street," said Congressman Rogers. "This federal funding complements the grassroots efforts of SOAR - Shaping Our Appalachian Region, as we work to revitalize southern and eastern Kentucky and rebound from the devastating loss of more than 11,000 coal mining jobs over the last eight years."
This project -- partnering with the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, the Kentucky Promise Zone, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), and the Kentucky Main Street Program – will help revitalize the downtowns of eight distressed towns in the Southeastern Kentucky Promise Zone.
“The projects and awards we are celebrating today help communities persevere and flourish as they deal with the challenges presented by the coal economy,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “POWER invests in jobs and workers, and develops and implements strategies and projects that can help transform these respective regions, states, and our nation.”
The Downtown Revitalization in the Promise Zone project will provide each community with tailored economic studies that identify economic opportunities, support strategic planning sessions to capitalize on those opportunities, provide financial support for key steps to implement those strategies, and build local leadership and business capacity.
"Appalachian communities are actively engaged in creating diverse local economies that are resilient, sustainable and strong." said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. "Local leaders and entrepreneurs will use these investments to develop, direct and implement economic diversification initiatives which will have long lasting impact."
In total, the ARC and EDA announced $13.7 million for four projects in southern and eastern Kentucky. Through his role as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers has worked to increase federal investments in distressed central Appalachian coal communities. In the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, funding for ARC was $51 million above the President's budget request and funding for EDA's program to assist coal mining communities was 50% higher than in 2015.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit Congressman Rogers' online office at http://halrogers.house.gov or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @RepHalRogers, and on Facebook.