Gov. Beshear Joins Eastern Kentucky Community To Announce Action Plan for Rebuilding
Knott County site includes homes, community centers, schools, infrastructure
Hindman, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled a vision for long-term recovery in Eastern Kentucky that begins with a high-ground community in Knott County.
The Governor said the initial building site is located in the community of Talcum, in Knott County near the Perry County line. The state 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. This is the first of several locations in Eastern Kentucky that are being considered for rebuilding projects. 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.
“We are thrilled to announce the first site of a regional approach to rebuilding,” said Gov. Beshear. “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. And this will benefit not just one community, but multiple counties devastated by floods.”
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 is also to provide the infrastructure in a way that benefits the entire region, including relief and assistance to the City of Hazard and Perry County.
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.
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.
“The infrastructure alone will be a boost for a larger area,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are excited about the houses, schools and community centers, but people need jobs to make a community vital. And the infrastructure projects are the first steps to attracting good jobs 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.
“This is a model we are seeing work well in Western Kentucky. We’re on track to build hundreds of homes in the West. After a disaster, a new home provides stability, security and hope for a prosperous future. That’s what we plan to build in Eastern Kentucky, too,” said Gov. Beshear.
Funds Committed to Nonprofit Builders for Additional New Homes
Meanwhile, nonprofit builders continue to work throughout the region to build new homes for flood victims who lost everything.
“While we are at the beginning of long-term rebuilding projects, we are also working to make an impact with new housing in the shorter-term,” said Gov. Beshear.
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.
Funds Committed to Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky for Home Repairs
Gov. Beshear also announced a new partnership 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. The money will go directly to individuals and families, located outside of a designated flood plain, for essential repairs with no administrative costs.
“We continue to see homes and home repairs as the No. 1 need in the area. Securing this grant means that 80 additional families can benefit from little- or no-cost repairs,” said Gerry Roll, chief executive officer of Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky.
“We believe that reclaiming the power of community for Appalachian Kentucky begins with investing in the people rooted there.”
Flood survivors can find a list of resources including information on new home construction and assistance with home repairs at governor.ky.gov/flood-resources.
Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $12.6 million from more than 41,000 donors. To contribute, click here. For other information regarding flooding in Eastern Kentucky, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Photos of the Knott County building site and construction renderings, as well as developing information on how to be a part of the rebuilding projects, will also be posted on the flood resources website as available.