PIKEVILLE — By unanimous written consent, the SOAR Executive Board has approved to recommend applicants to the Kentucky Department of Local Government for funding from the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development (KARD) Fund. Pending final approval by the Department of Local Government, the selected recipients will begin to receive disbursements within the next few months.
The Harlan County Economic Development Authority operations funding with Harlan Fiscal Court has been selected to receive $125,200.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said, “We are grateful for being selected by the SOAR board for a KARD grant. Truly investing in economic development initiatives is critical to providing our citizens with employment opportunities. The Harlan County Economic Development Authority in conjunction with the fiscal court are making steady progress in addressing the economic crisis in our area.”
“This grant that has been funded will allow us to take our efforts to another level and become more aggressive in recruiting new business to Harlan County as well as retaining what we still have,” Mosley continued.
The state established KARD through a $2 million appropriation during the 2015 legislative session. This seed money will support efforts that include job creation and retention, entrepreneurship, tourism, broadband deployment, workforce training, leadership development, health and wellness, infrastructure and economic diversity.
“We applaud the innovative forward-thinking ideas presented by the KARD applicants,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “These projects will not only expand job creation and enhance regional opportunity, but they will improve the quality of life for our fellow citizens living in Appalachian Kentucky. Thanks to the applicants’ leadership, and the work of many others, a new day of opportunity is dawning in eastern Kentucky.”
With over $14 million in requested funding and only $1.5 million available to be recommended for disbursement, this application cycle was highly competitive. The Kentucky Department of Local Government will review the recommended applicants and proceed with disbursement of grant funding and grant administration.
“I want to commend Colby Goss for a tremendous job on this grant application. Considering, there were more than $14 million in grant requests and only $1.5 million in grants awarded, it was evident that he put together a competitive and thorough application detailing the direct needs Harlan County has to address to fix our ailing economy. This is huge for Harlan County,” noted Mosley.
The projects recommended were innovative, collaborative solutions often bringing together partners that, up until now, had not worked together. In line with the SOAR mission to align local strategies with a regional vision, projects with a regional focus and collaborative approaches were prioritized over others. The Transforming & Creating the Tech Community in Eastern Kentucky project for example brought together partners including: EKCEP, Interapt, SOAR, Bitsource, Kindred Healthcare, Fullstack Academy, KCTCS and EAST KY Power Cooperative.
“Thanks to the KARD fund, SOAR can give credence to many of the visionary community projects that have been inspired and generated by this holistic network of Eastern Kentucky leaders, resources and ideas,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, co-chair of SOAR. “This seed funding is a reflection of SOAR’s growth into the next phase of revitalization as we work to shape the future of our region and rebound from the devastating loss of more than 10,000 coal mining jobs in eastern Kentucky over the last eight years.”
“The ability for SOAR to have input in directing this funding allows us to effectuate our 2016 strategy of aligning local strategies with our regional vision,” said Jared Arnett executive director of SOAR. “Investing in applicants to KARD that deliver the greatest return enables us to give the shapers of our region the resources to make our regional vision a reality.”