Five rural development districts in Kentucky win $500,000 to revitalize their economies by boosting community renewal capacity

On May 11, 2023, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced nearly $500,000 in new funding to the following Appalachian Kentucky area redevelopment districts through READY LDDs, ARC’s recently-launched community renewal capacity-building revitalization initiative:

  • Big Sandy Area Development District, [$100,000]
  • Cumberland Valley Area Development District, [$100,000]
  • Gateway Area Development District, [$100,000]
  • Kentucky River Area Development District, [$100,000]
  • Lake Cumberland Area Development District, [$99,975]

ARC’s latest investment will help build capacity in Eastern Kentucky by providing on-the-ground support to assist Appalachian communities with accessing billions of dollars in federal funding and technical assistance opportunities that are available to energy communities,” said Energy Communities IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with ARC to further support efforts to revitalize economies and strengthen the workforces of Appalachian Kentucky,” he continued.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin made the announcement during a joint Rural Partners Network (RPN) and Interagency Working Group on Energy Communities Forum in Pineville, Kentucky.

The work of ARC’s local development district partners is integral to our mission of expanding opportunities to residents across the Appalachian Region,” said Manchin.

I applaud the work of Eastern Kentucky’s area development districts, and am excited to see their communities grow and access new opportunities as a result of the READY LDD grants,” she added.

Nearly 300 local, state and federal partners—including the White House Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization (IWG)—met there to share success stories and discuss federal funding opportunities available to community partners in the Kentucky Highlands region.

As part of its partnership with IWG, ARC is connecting Eastern Kentucky communities to federal funding opportunities by empowering LDDs to serve as on-the-ground rapid response teams.

These funds are going to help our Area Development Districts further their amazing work,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

This program is making ARC’s investments in Kentucky even more impactful. I’m grateful for ARC’s partnership, and for all we’ve done together to make sure Appalachian Kentuckians feel valued and prioritized,” he continued.

Supported in part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), READY LDDs is one of four tailored tracks offered by ARC’s READY Appalachia initiative, to help Appalachia’s LDDs hire additional staff and build local capacity to best use the federal funding available from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and other sources.

This is a great example of tax dollars working at the federal, state and local levels to advance economic development and to create new opportunities in rural America,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, Dean of the House.

I applaud the Appalachian Regional Commission for investing half a million dollars in federal funds to support the critical work of our local Area Development Districts as they work hand-in-hand with local elected leaders in our communities. This is one of many reasons why I have fought tirelessly to protect funding for the ARC every year,” he concluded.

READY LDDs gives special consideration to Appalachian LDDs serving at least one of the following:

  • distressed areas;
  • IWG priority communities;
  • smaller under-resourced, and difficult to reach populations, organizations, and local governments; and,
  • historically marginalized populations.

ARC will be accepting READY LDDs applications on a rolling basis until all funds are expended.

The next deadline for applications is June 30, 2023, and ARC will be announcing additional READY LDD awards in June 2023.

Photo (by J654567 via Wikipedia) shows Pineville, Kentucky as viewed from Pine Mountain State Resort Park.

See Appalachian Regional Commission website.

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