BEATTYVILLE, KY — The Lee County Tourism Commission concluded its 2017 ARC Flex-E-Grant, which resulted in the construction of trailhead signage and a paddle trail map.
The purpose of the project was to get the community together and experience a local river and tourism spot. Over the summer, the tourism commission hosted four paddle trips. Each trip was also a river cleanup and a trailhead cleanup.
The tourism commission developed and installed signs at three public Kentucky river access points in Lee County. Additionally, they mapped over 20 miles of paddle trails. Safety information and local events were also posted on the trailhead kiosks that were constructed by the carpentry students at the Lee County Area Technology Center.
One of the goals of the project was to encourage communication with local residents about the business potential of the river. Prior to the grant, Beattyville didn’t have an outfitter that offered access to canoe, kayak, SUP board, and fishing gear rentals. The project encouraged one local business to step forward and purchase canoes with plans to expand to kayaks and boat rentals in Beattyville.
The tourism commission was awarded $3,500 through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Flex-E-Grant program, which is administered by The Center for Rural Development.
The Center for Rural Development (The Center) and the Brushy Fork Institute at Berea College worked together to identify projects that align with the goals of the Flex-E Grant program and support other regional initiatives such as Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and the Kentucky Promise Zone. The grants provided a critical resource for communities to plan and implement projects that address both local and regional development efforts.
The 2017 ARC Flex-E-Grants funded 22 projects totaling more than $180,000 in grant funds with a minimum of 20 percent matched locally. The grants were awarded in economically distressed counties, as designated by the ARC, including Carter, Clay, Cumberland, Estill, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Letcher, Magoffin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Morgan, and Whitley counties.
Three additional multi-county projects with a regional development focus impacted counties of Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Whitley, and Wolfe.
These Southern and Eastern Kentucky communities used the grants to engage local residents in planning processes that explored strategic approaches to community and economic development, and projects that result in assets for tourism, downtown revitalization, youth development and other areas.
For more information on The Center’s Flex-E-Grant program, contact Patti Simpson at 606-677-6000.
Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.