FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – The Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) is seeking economic and community development proposals to attract new industry and jobs to Kentucky’s Appalachian counties.
Officials say the 2020 Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program has $25 million in federal grant money available through the AML for projects in Kentucky’s Appalachian counties with historic coal mining sites.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is accepting proposal applications through Aug. 1, 2020.
“The pilot program, now in its fifth year, is a tremendous opportunity for leaders in Appalachian counties to determine projects that will grow a healthy and economically sustainable future,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet officials say 43 projects in 21 counties have been selected for the pilot program since 2016. Some of the projects include a high-tech training facility in Johnson County, a drone R&D and test facility in Perry and Knott counties, a sport-shooting and archery resort park in Letcher County, the Impact Outdoor campground in Clay County, the Pikeville Medical Center Pediatric Clinic and the Appalachian Wildlife Center in Bell County.
“This funding provides a launching pad for economic development in parts of Eastern Kentucky where we face the greatest challenges to job creation,” U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05). “Our former coal mining land helped fuel our economy for generations and this program aims to restore some of the same land to help create jobs and promote tourism growth in our region once again.”
Eligible grant recipients are limited to state and local governments. They may subcontract project related activities as appropriate, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. Counties eligible for projects include Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley and Wolfe.
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said the program’s most recent success, the Impact Outdoor campground, would bring adventure tourism to Clay County. “We are beginning to see projects that received AML Pilot grant funding in past years start to produce jobs or bring tourism dollars to eastern Kentucky,” said Goodman.
Eligible groups wanting to submit a project can find applications at AMLPILOT or by contacting the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands at 502-782-6761 or by e-mail at BobF.Scott@ky.gov or Justin.Adams@ky.gov.