SOAR Executive Board Unanimously Select KARD Applicants to Receive $1.5 Million

By unanimous written consent, the SOAR Executive Board approved to recommend applicants to the Kentucky Department of Local Government for funding from the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development (KARD) Fund.

Pending final approval by the Department of Local Government, the selected recipients will begin to receive disbursements within the next few months.

“We applaud the innovative forward-thinking ideas presented by the KARD applicants,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “These projects will not only expand job creation and enhance regional opportunity, but they will improve the quality of life for our fellow citizens living in Appalachian Kentucky. Thanks to the applicants’ leadership, and the work of many others, a new day of opportunity is dawning in Eastern Kentucky.”

The state established KARD through a $2 million appropriation during the 2015 legislative session. This seed money will support efforts that include job creation and retention, entrepreneurship, tourism, broadband deployment, workforce training, leadership development, health and wellness, infrastructure and economic diversity.

“Thanks to the KARD fund, SOAR can give credence to many of the visionary community projects that have been inspired and generated by this holistic network of Eastern Kentucky leaders, resources and ideas,” said Congressman Rogers, Co-Chair of SOAR. “This seed funding is a reflection of SOAR’s growth into the next phase of revitalization as we work to shape the future of our region and rebound from the devastating loss of more than 10,000 coal mining jobs in Eastern Kentucky over the last eight years.”

With over $14,000,000 in requested funding and only $1,500,000 available to be recommended for disbursement, this application cycle was highly competitive. The Kentucky Department of Local Government will review the recommended applicants and proceed with disbursement of grant funding and grant administration.

The projects recommended were innovative, collaborative solutions often bringing together partners that, up until now, had not worked together. In line with the SOAR mission to align local strategies with a regional vision, projects with a regional focus and collaborative approaches were prioritized over others. The Transforming & Creating the Tech Community in Eastern Kentucky project for example brought together partners including: EKCEP, Interapt, SOAR, Bitsource, Kindred Healthcare, Fullstack Academy, KCTCS, and EAST KY Power Cooperative. A complete list of recommended projects, applicants and corresponding funding amounts is included below:

  • Telehealth Technician Certificate Program: Hazard Community and Technical College, $250,000
  • Transforming & Creating The Tech Community in Eastern Kentucky: Big Sandy Community and Technical College, $250,000
  • Fostering Lifelong S.T.E.A.M. Learning at the Dream Discovery Center: Morehead State University, $248,871
  • Eastern Kentucky Food Collaborative: Community Farm Alliance, $148,832
  • Harlan County Economic Development Authority Operations Funding: Harlan Fiscal Court, $125,200
  • Strategic Economic Development Initiative: One East Kentucky, $125,000
  • Pikeville Farmers’ Market: City of Pikeville, $100,000
  • Wired Owsley County: Owsley County Action Team, $95,200
  • City of Prestonsburg Broadband Strategic Plan & Feasibility Study: City of Prestonsburg, $78,000
  • Southeastern Kentucky Final Mile Project: Perry Fiscal Court, $65,000
  • Coal Fields Business Park Environmental Certification: Coal Fields Authority, $12,500
  • “The ability for SOAR to have input in directing this funding allows us to effectuate our 2016 strategy of aligning local strategies with our regional vision,” said Jared Arnett Executive Director of SOAR. “Investing in applicants to KARD that deliver the greatest return enables us to give the shapers of our region the resources to make our regional vision a reality.”

    SOAR is a network that unites 54 counties’ worth of talent enabling us to shape our own future. SOAR is us, the people working to make a better future for our region.

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