HINDMAN, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday unveiled sprawling plans for long-term recovery in eastern Kentucky, including a high-ground development featuring space for housing lots, apartments and a new school—the construction on which is slated to begin in a matter of months.
What You Need To Know
- Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled sprawling plans for long-term recovery in eastern Kentucky
- Beshear said the initial building site is located in the community of Talcum, in Knott County near the Perry County line. Kentucky initially secured 75 acres and can expand that to nearly 300 acres
- Work is expected to begin in early 2023 and will include an improved water treatment facility, roads and utilities to the area
- The state is currently evaluating multiple sites in four counties: Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Perry
At a news conference in Hindman, Beshear said the initial building site is located in the community of Talcum, in Knott County near the Perry County line. Kentucky initially secured 75 acres and can expand that to nearly 300 acres, which means the land not only provides a place to rebuild but is a place to grow for the future and attract new businesses.
“We are thrilled to announce the first site of a regional approach to rebuilding,” Beshear said during a news conference. “This is an approach that benefits whole communities. It’s a vision for the future that includes new homes, community centers, schools, upgraded infrastructure and the opportunity for future economic investments."
It's the first of several locations in eastern Kentucky that are being considered for rebuilding projects, officials said. The state is currently evaluating multiple sites in four counties: Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Perry. These counties combined account for 75% of the homes lost to flood damage.
Initial concepts for the Knott County community include small, medium and large home lots, senior apartments, park and recreation space and an elementary school, all surrounded by wooded areas. The plan, Beshear explained, is also to provide the infrastructure in a way that benefits the entire region.
Shawn and Tammy Adams are working in partnership with the state to provide parcels of land throughout the building process.
“This property means a lot to us, but what means more is that we are able to see it help so many. We are grateful to Gov. Beshear for his vision and proud that we can contribute to this project,” said Tammy Adams. “We even have an idea for the name of the community: Olive Branch, a symbol of peace and recovery.”
Vector Engineering has started an initial geo-technical survey. Extensive geo-technical testing will be conducted on all the potential building sites at appropriate times in the planning and construction process, Beshear said.
Infrastructure projects will have multiple funding streams, including Eastern Kentucky SAFE funds, state transportation funds and Federal ARPA funds. Work is expected to begin in early 2023 and will include an improved water treatment facility, roads and utilities to the area.
Working with local nonprofit builders, affordable, energy-efficient homes will be built on the site partially funded by the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.
Gov. Beshear also announced that the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund is committing $600,000 in funds to build eight new homes in partnership with the Housing Development Alliance and Homes, Inc. The fund is providing $75,000 per home for building materials.
“These funds will provide an immediate impact on the number of houses we are able to build. Literally, overnight, hundreds of people lost everything they’d worked so hard for, and now, they are struggling to rebuild their lives. Each house is a promise of hope for a family,” said Scott McReynolds, executive director of Housing Development Alliance Inc.
Officials also announced a new partnership Tuesday with Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky to assist flood survivors with home repairs. The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund will provide $200,000 in matching funds for a grant from the Eckstein Foundation. The total investment is $800,000 and will provide repairs for approximately 80 flood-damaged homes. Funds will go directly to individuals and families, located outside of a designated flood plain, for essential repairs with no administrative costs.