Kentucky – $2.8 Million for Infrastructure Improvements

Lt. Gov. Coleman Presents More Than $2.8 Million for Infrastructure Improvements in Bell and Harlan Counties

Funding comes from Better Kentucky Plan’s Cleaner Water Program, Community Development Block Grant, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

PINEVILLE / HARLAN, KY (STL.News) Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman presented $2,873,729 today for infrastructure improvements in Bell and Harlan counties.

The funding comes from three different grant programs – the Better Kentucky Plan’s Cleaner Water Program, the Department for Local Government’s Community Development Block Grant Program and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Transportation Alternatives Program – along with discretionary funding for road resurfacing from KYTC.

“These grants are going to help our families stay healthy and they’re going to ensure better protection during emergencies, too,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.  “As we build a better Kentucky together, we need to continue investing in our infrastructure – from our water systems, to our roadways and our fire houses, just like we’re doing today.”

“As a rural Kentuckian, I know that it’s difficult for smaller counties and cities to fund major upgrades on their own, no matter how important they are,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said.  “That’s why it’s our job in state government to help close the gaps and make sure these projects get across the finish line, and I’m proud to help do that today in Bell and Harlan counties.”

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA), $250 million was appropriated through a bipartisan agreement at the close of the 2021 General Assembly for clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky.

The Cumberland Valley Area Development District submitted funding requests for both counties to the KIA.

Bell County
In Bell County, Lt. Gov. Coleman presented four awards totaling $1,031,485 for water and sewer infrastructure upgrades and road resurfacing:

  • $307,300 for the City of Middlesboro for the first phase of upgrades to its waste water treatment plant, which was constructed in 1985;
  • $170,752 for the City of Middlesboro to replace the bar screen at the Main Sewage Lift Station, which directly feeds the waste water treatment plant;
  • $478,000 for the City of Pineville for the addition of an emergency generator for auxiliary power at the Pineville Water Treatment Plant, the Wallsend Sewage Lift Station and the Ball Field Flood Pump Station;  and
  • $75,433 in KYTC funding for Bell County to resurface portions of Happy Hollow Road and Sherwood Road.

“It is no secret that clean drinking water is vital for any community, which is why this funding for water and sewer infrastructure improvements is essential.  An investment for infrastructure is an investment for our future, and I look forward to seeing the good that this announcement brings,” said Rep. Adam Bowling.  “I am grateful for the legislature’s and Governor’s commitment to these projects.”

“I know I can speak for both Mayor Rick Nelson of Middlesboro and Mayor Scott Madon of Pineville as for myself in expressing our humble gratitude to the Governor and his administration’s continued support for all of Bell County,” said Bell County Judge/Executive Albey Brock.

Harlan County
In Harlan County, Lt. Gov. Coleman presented four awards totaling $1,842,244 for water and sewer infrastructure improvements, fire safety upgrades and sidewalk replacements:

  • $820,000 for the Black Mountain Water District to replace more than 11,000 linear feet of leakage prone waterlines and complete other system upgrades;
  • $135,244 to the Cawood Water District to replace existing waterlines along U.S. Highway 421 and along Kentucky Highway 3001 with 8-inch ductile iron waterline;
  • $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to Harlan County to construct a 6,500-square-foot station for the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department at the corner of Sunshine Park and Duffield Street in Harlan. The new facility will house the station’s eight emergency vehicles and has enough space for fire fighters to maintain and clean the vehicles after each run.  This project will also provide better response times.  The new fire station will include a training area, additional equipment storage, secure storage, office space and restrooms.  The site of the new fire station is a 1-acre lot that has room for expansion and space to maneuver current equipment.  The site and facility will continue to be owned, operated, maintained and insured by Harlan County; and
  • $109,600 for the City of Harlan to replace degraded pedestrian sidewalks and install new sidewalks along May Street.

“Investments in our infrastructure is something that every community needs to thrive,” said Sen. Johnnie Turner. “Projects like these are something that we all support, and I’m glad to see Bell and Harlan counties benefit from funds allocated by the legislature, but made possible by working taxpayers.  I’m also pleased to see this contract finally being awarded for this much-needed second fire department.  As somebody who recently had a personal loss from a fire, I know all too well how important it is to have this new fire department to assist the residents of Harlan in their times of need.”

“This is a great day for Harlan County, and it means a lot that Lt. Gov. Coleman traveled here to present these awards in person,” House Minority Caucus Whip Angie Hatton said.  “I have been proud to work with my fellow legislators, the Beshear Administration and our local leaders to make projects like this possible, because they do so much to improve our quality of life.  These infrastructure upgrades and the new station for the Sunshine Fire Department will make a positive difference for decades to come.”

“We are extremely thankful for the Cleaner Water Grant Program established through bipartisan collaboration by Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly,” Harlan County Judge/Executive Dan Mosley said.  “This funding announced today for Black Mountain Utility District and Cawood Water District will have a positive impact on a couple thousand customers here in Harlan County.  Investments in the rehabilitation of water infrastructure improves the quality of life for our citizens.  Upgrading technology in water delivery services results in less water loss and less outages for customers.  This funding awarded today will do those important things for the people of Harlan County.”

He continued: “Sunshine Fire Department has the largest service territory of any department in Harlan County.  They are essentially the backup department to all other departments as well.  They’ve effectively performed fire service for the people of Harlan County in the basement of an old armory building for years with limited space for trucks, training and storage of equipment.  This new facility has been a long time in the making. I am happy for the members of the department, the people they serve and our Harlan County community.  The two different grants, spanning two different gubernatorial administrations has made this project a reality.  I am thankful to everyone who has supported it.”

“The City of Harlan is thankful for this grant under the Safe Routes to School Initiative which will enable the city to replace sidewalks that our children use every day, some of which date back prior to the 1977 flood,” Harlan Mayor Joe Meadors said.  “Again we thank the Governor and his administration for this investment in our children’s future.”

About the Cleaner Water Program
More than $159 million has been awarded to grantees to fund transformative projects since the call for projects was announced June 1.  Eligible government agencies, such as city-owned water or sewer utilities, water commissions, water and sewer districts and counties, collaborated with their local Area Development Districts and Area Water Management Councils to submit projects for Cleaner Water Program funding.  There are 713 public drinking water and wastewater utilities in Kentucky.

Cleaner Water Program funding is allocated in three ways:

  • $150 million based on each county’s proportion of the state’s population, with the exception of Jefferson County’s share, which is discounted by 50% based on its high per capita allocation from the federal act.  A list of the allocations by county can be found here.
  • $50 million is available for utilities to provide drinking water services to unserved, rural customers or to utilities under a federal consent decree.  The KIA shall consider social, economic and environmental benefits in determining the allocations.
  • $49.9 million is available to supplement a project grant for a project with a cost in excess of a county’s allocation amount and other available grant sources.  The social, economic and environmental benefits shall be considered in determining project allocations.  KIA will receive $75,000 to administer the grant program.

The application deadline was Nov. 19, 2021;  however, KIA will make awards continuously throughout the year.  All grant awardees must obligate the funds by Dec. 31, 2024.

The American Society of Civil Engineers in 2019 projected that Kentucky faces nearly $14.5 billion in water/wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years, including over $8.2 billion in drinking water upgrades and $6.2 billion in sewer system improvements.

Information about the Cleaner Water Program, as well as grants for broadband expansion, school facility upgrades and vocational education center renovations, can be found at governor.ky.gov/BetterKy.

About the Community Development Block Grant Program
The Community Development Block Grant Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.

About the Transportation Alternatives Program
TAP is a federally funded reimbursement program administered through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Local Programs.  Funding supports non-motorized forms of transportation to improve connectivity, accessibility, safety and equity in communities.  Transportation projects commonly include bicycle and pedestrian pathways, ADA compliance, Safe Routes to School and wildlife mitigation.  The program covers 80% of the project cost.