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November 17, 2019

Fourteen projects funded Flex-E-Grants

The Center for Rural Development has awarded $105,334 in Flex-E-Grants funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for 14 projects in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

The funds will be administered through The Center’s Developing and Implementing Community Strategies Program in partnership with the Department for Local Government and ARC.

The ARC-funded Flex-E-Grants, awarded to grant recipients in the form of mini-grants, will provide strategic investments in projects that build community capacity to mobilize local resources, gain leadership experience, and strengthen community institutions and networks.

“We are making a difference in the lives of people in Southern and Eastern Kentucky by investing in their future and economic development of our region,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center. “Many of our rural communities and small nonprofit organizations lack the financial resources to move forward on these projects without funding assistance.”

The Developing and Implementing Community Strategies Program is committed to providing grants to assist local units of government and nonprofits from eligible counties with capacity building projects that will support economic development in distressed counties of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Grant recipients awarded ARC Flex-E-Grants through The Center include:

  •  Burkesville/Cumberland County Industrial Authority – $7,500
    Strategic Plan Action Steps is a project to develop a community brand and identity with website to improve web presence and promote tourism, local programming, and activities.
  • City of Wayland Comprehensive Plan Update – $6,000
    Wayland will use funding to complete a strategic planning project. The initial plan was funded by The Center seven years ago. This project will update and expand on the original plan.
  • City of Lynch/Meridzo – $10,000
    Officials plan to establish a city app for the City of Lynch. 
  • FOCUS Film Contest – $5,000
    This project will initiate a regional high school film contest to promote economic development in Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Owsley counties.
  • Tri-Cities Heritage Corporation – $9,000
    This is a planning project for the tri-cities of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch in Harlan County.
  • Johnson County Fiscal Court – $7,984
    This project is a community strategic plan for Paintsville/Johnson County. The planning project will engage the community, organizations, and local leaders to identify at least five focus areas and two projects for implementation. This project seeks to promote economic development.
  • City of Salyersville – $7,850
    Salyersville will  develop an app focused on economic development. This project involves high school students and other volunteers and benefits tourism and economic development.
  • Morgan County Fiscal Court – $7,500
    This project is a comprehensive web development project for Morgan County Economic Development.
  • Pine Mountain Regional Development Industrial Authority – $10,000
    This strategic planning project will benefit five counties – Bell, Harlan, Knox, Letcher and Whitley. The plan seeks to identify and define the best approach for economic development and workforce training in the region.
  • Stay in Clay – $2,000
    Clay County is known as the Land of Swinging Bridges. This tourism project will develop a mobile app to identify swinging bridges in Clay County.
  • Menifee County Fiscal Court – $7,500
    Menifee County will develop a bicycle and pedestrian plan.
  • Rockcastle County Development Board – $5,000
    This project will create a history garden walk that will also be a destination stop for those traveling Boone Trace Trail and Bike 21 route.
  • Knox County Fiscal Court – 10,000
    Knox County will conduct a strategic planning project to strengthen economic development through local and regional partnerships.
  • Harlan County Fiscal Court – $10,000
    Harlan County will develop a permanent stage/performance infrastructure in downtown Harlan for local events, including Harlan’s Bicentennial celebration.

The Flex-E-Grant program was generated from the ARC’s initiative to enhance assistance to distressed counties, and each approved project must demonstrate beneficiaries in a distressed county.

The five ARC strategic investment goals include: economic opportunities, ready workforce, critical infrastructure, natural and cultural assets, and leadership and community capacity. At all levels, ARC is committed to investing organizational and financial resources in proposals that are designed to be strategic, collaborative, impactable, and sustainable.

Grants are subject to approval for up to $10,000, require a 20 percent match of total project costs, and are to be completed within a six-month timeframe. Flex-E-Grant funds are made available on a reimbursement basis only.

For more information, contact Patti Simpson at 606-677-6000.

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