Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Announces Nearly $14 Million for Lee County Community Projects
Funds for road improvements, drinking water upgrades and substance abuse
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Beattyville today to present local officials with ceremonial checks totaling nearly $14 million for community projects. The funding represents dollars for road and sidewalk improvements, water system and water treatment upgrades and a recovery program to help combat substance abuse.
“These investments pave the way toward smooth highways, safe and reliable drinking water, new economic opportunities and a fresh start for many residents struggling with drug addiction problems,” said Governor Fletcher. “I am committed to improving the quality of life for Kentuckians. These worthy projects are examples of my commitment to working collaboratively with local officials to build stronger communities across our great state.”
Governor Fletcher presented a check for $8,639,239 for construction of a new bypass for KY 52 in Beattyville. This new KY 52 will bypass a substandard railroad underpass that is prone to flooding and will eliminate two at-grade railroad crossings in the city limits. The project will improve access to Lee County High School, Lee County Area Technology Center, the Lee Adjustment Center and Three Forks Regional Jail.
Preliminary work to clear the right of way is underway. The project is expected to take about two years to complete.
The Governor also presented a check for $700,000 for a pedestrian safety enhancement project that ties in to the KY 52 bypass. This federally funded project will result in the addition of sidewalks and storm sewers, as well as the installation of street lights from the western end of the new route extending west to Happy Top Road.
Governor Fletcher also announced that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) will soon install 300 feet of new guardrail along KY 52 near the Three Forks Regional Jail. The $10,000 project in the Three Forks community will improve safety for area motorists.
“These investments are extremely important to the residents of Beattyville and Lee County,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “The obvious safety and traffic flow benefits that will result from the new bypass will be very apparent. In addition, the new sidewalks in this section of Beattyville will improve safety for pedestrians and will be an asset for the appearance of the area in addition to the functionality.”
A $150,000 check also signified the Governor’s commitment to needed transportation infrastructure for a new three-acre retirement housing community development for Grand Avenue in Beattyville.
“It’s imperative that we pay attention to the needs of our elderly and our aging population, and the planning of retirement communities is one way we can do this,” said Governor Fletcher. “This funding will help the city build streets and sidewalks for this important project.”
“I appreciate Governor Fletcher’s support for these important projects in Beattyville, and I am proud to be a part of today’s celebration,” said Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester).
More than $5 million in funds for community development projects
Governor Fletcher presented ceremonial checks for water system improvement projects in Lee County. Approximately $3.7 million in various state funds and a $750,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) federal grant will be used to help construct the new Beattyville water treatment plant in the Mooretown area of Lee County.
When completed, the plant will have the capacity to provide treated water to all of the residents of Lee County and a portion of Wolfe and Breathitt Counties. The Governor also announced $500,000 in state funds for the completion of water line extensions throughout Lee County. Both projects will improve water services to citizens throughout the area.
“The new water treatment plant is a vital component to the future development of Lee County and surrounding communities,” said Governor Fletcher. “Strengthening our water infrastructure not only improves services for residents, but it also serves as a catalyst for economic growth in the area. Good water service is a must for attracting additional industry to southeastern Kentucky.”
The Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) and the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA) will be responsible for administering state funds.
ARC funding for the water treatment plant will be administered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development office. ARC is a federally funded, economic development grant program available to Kentucky’s 51 most eastern and south central counties. Applications for ARC grants are submitted to GOLD, with final project funding approvals made at the federal level.
The Governor also presented $500,000 in state funds to local officials for construction activities at the Happy Top Recreation Center.
“These significant transportation improvements as well as the much-needed improvements to the area’s water service will help deliver economic prosperity to Lee County,” said Sen. Stivers. “The new bypass and pedestrian walkways will provide increased mobility and safety for area residents, while the new water plant and water line extensions offer the promise of fresh, clean drinking water. Together, we are working to improve the economic strength and quality of life for this region.”
“Governor Fletcher has always been responsive to the needs of the people of Lee County,” said Rep. Ted Edmonds (D-Jackson). “The Governor’s administration has always been willing to work with me and with local leaders in Beattyville and Lee County, and also Senator Stivers, to help promote and fund projects that will make a difference in people's lives. I appreciate Governor Fletcher's leadership in these and other efforts during the past three years.”
Nearly $100,000 in funds for jail treatment recovery program
Also while at Beattyville this afternoon, Governor Fletcher presented the Three Forks Regional Jail with a $97,500 ceremonial check. The funding will enhance the jail treatment recovery program, which provides substance abuse treatment for inmates. The grant money is being provided by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.
The Three Forks Regional Jail program started two years ago with 10 inmates and is now providing treatment to more than 25 inmates.
“We have too many Kentuckians serving time in jails and prisons who need, but aren’t receiving any treatment for their drug addictions,” said Governor Fletcher. “This type of program offers a second chance for a successful life to those who have made mistakes in the past.”