Frankfort, KY (STL.News) Gov. Andy Beshear announced a grant totaling $305,986 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the Breathitt County Museum Board. The board will use the funds to transform their historic former jail building into a tourist destination in downtown Jackson.
The board will convert the site to a low-cost, one-stop shop for local artisans and entrepreneurs to sell arts and crafts and encourage visitors to participate in the local economy.
“Congratulations to the Breathitt County Museum Board on this award,” said Gov. Beshear. “This project will help build a stronger economic foundation, drawing on Appalachia’s unique heritage to create real opportunity in Breathitt County. We are grateful for the community leaders that made this project possible because it will help us build the stronger Eastern Kentucky we’ve always imagined.”
ARC funding is designed to help economically distressed counties in Appalachian Kentucky strengthen industry and build a stronger economic future. The Department for Local Government (DLG) administers ARC funding at the state level.
“ARC projects have transformed Appalachian communities for decades,” said DLG Commissioner and Gov. Beshear’s ARC Representative Dennis Keene. “We look forward to the completion of this project, because it will encourage visitors to experience our communities and participate in the local economies, making a meaningful difference in Breathitt County and in the region.”
Beyond providing local artisans a venue to sell their items, the new center will also provide visitors with information on other local businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues. Ultimately, encouraging further economic participation in the community. Upon completion, the site is expected to attract 5,200 visitors annually and create one job.
“On behalf of the Breathitt County Museum, I want to thank the Governor and his staff, DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene and former State Rep. Cluster Howard for their help with this project,” said Janie Griffith, executive director of the Breathitt County Museum. “This project will be a boost for tourism in Eastern Kentucky and will help preserve and document our local history for future generations. We are so grateful for this grant because it will bring greater opportunity to our region.”
In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $86,714, making the total project funding $392,700.