LOUISA, KY — The City of Louisa recently concluded a 2017 ARC Flex-E-Grant that involved the construction of an observation deck and educational display about Lockview Dam.
The City of Louisa was awarded $9,100 through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Flex-E-Grant program, which is administered by The Center for Rural Development, to build upon its ReDiscover Louisa initiative.
The City of Louisa continues its efforts to rebrand the city as a tourism destination and leverage its location on the Big Sandy River as a tourism opportunity. This phase of the project continues efforts to highlight the historical significance of a local landmark – the site of the first needle dam built in the United States.
The previous ARC Flex-E-Grant funded projects included plans for a recreation trail complex that included the rehabilitation of local parks and the creation of a Riverwalk connecting recreational areas of the city.
Mayor Harold Slone said the project has been a success in building partnerships and building community involvement. Slone also worked with The DAR – Daughters of the American Revolution to do historical research on the locks and dam.
RISEAbove also helped by providing volunteers. RISEAbove is a local non-profit whose mission is “Together – Making Things Better.”
“The observation deck will be featured in area tourist attraction advertisements and has already been visited by many around the region,” Slone said. “It has also become a great spot for photos for weddings and dances.”
“The project would not have been possible without the grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, The Center for Rural Development, and the support of Louisa City Council,” Slone told the local newspaper in Louisa.
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 provide 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 will impact 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 explore 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.