Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Small Business Administration Grants Governor Fletcher's Request for Aid

Press Release Date:  Thursday, June 28, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Disaster assistance to businesses affected by low water level of Lake Cumberland

FRANKFORT, Ky.– Governor Ernie Fletcher’s request for emergency assistance for businesses harmed by the lowering of Lake Cumberland has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Governor announced today.

The SBA action will make low-interest disaster loans available to eligible businesses in 15 counties of the greater Lake Cumberland area: Adair, Casey, Clinton, Clay, Cumberland, Knox, Laurel, Jackson, Lincoln, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne and Whitley.

“I appreciate the fact that the Small Business Administration has moved quickly and acted favorably on my request,” Governor Fletcher said. “SBA loan assistance will help small-business owners of the Lake Cumberland area through a difficult period.”

Eligible small businesses may qualify for loans up to $1.5 million. Interest rates are available at 4 percent with loan terms up to 30 years. SBA sets loan amounts and terms according to each applicant’s financial condition.

Lake Cumberland is Kentucky’s third-largest lake and an economic engine for central and southern Kentucky – both for tourism and the region’s renowned and irreplaceable houseboat manufacturing industry.

But the Army Corps of Engineers has dropped the level of Lake Cumberland by 43 feet to facilitate repairs to Wolf Creek Dam, which was found to have been eroding. Upon the Corps’ announcement of its plans in January, Governor Fletcher ordered the agencies of his administration to do everything possible to help communities adapt to the emergency.

Administration efforts have included extension of boat ramps, technical and emergency financial assistance to municipal water systems that were forced to extend or relocate their intakes, and an aggressive tourism advertising campaign to quash any impression that Lake Cumberland no longer was viable for boating, fishing and water sports.

“SBA can help small businesses overcome their economic losses by offering these working capital loans, but the help cannot start until they submit an SBA Disaster Loan application to us,” said Steve Ayers, SBA Kentucky district director.

Applications and information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at  1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing-impaired), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT.  Loan applications also can be downloaded at  Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX. 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than March 26, 2008.