Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Unveils Lincoln Bicentennial License Plate, Announces Funding for Hodgenville
Investments part of preparation for Lincoln Bicentennial Commemoration
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today unveiled Kentucky’s new Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial license plate and announced Renaissance On Main funding for the historic city of Hodgenville in the amount of $132,075. The investments are timely because Hodgenville and LaRue County, birthplace of the 16th president, will be spotlighted to the world during the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commemoration.
“Our Abraham Lincoln heritage is something that unites all Kentuckians,” Governor Fletcher said, following the Lincoln Days Parade through Hodgenville. “The funding for Main Street improvements will help this historic city look its best as visitors flock here during the bicentennial celebration. The new license plate will serve as a symbol and a reminder of Lincoln’s legacy and his Kentucky roots.”
President George W. Bush has been invited to Kentucky to launch a two-year national commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, which occurred Feb. 12, 1809. The national kickoff begins in Louisville on Feb. 11, 2008, and continues with a ceremony in Hodgenville on Feb. 12.
“Abraham Lincoln’s birth and early childhood are a source of great pride and historical relevance in LaRue County and the entire commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Congressman Ron Lewis (R-KY). “These funds will assist the community in preparation for the thousands of visitors who are expected during the bicentennial celebration.”
The new license plate, an initiative of the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, will be available at county clerk offices throughout Kentucky beginning in December. Plates will cost $44 for initial issue and $31 for annual renewal.
The $132,075 Renaissance on Main grant will be used for façade upgrades and repairs for 16 properties in the National Register District and Main Street.
Façade upgrades will consist of repairing and replacing brickwork, sidewalks and roofs. Several buildings will get new paint and other upgrades. The façade repairs will coincide with a Renaissance on Main streetscape project to give the entire area a dramatic facelift.
“All Kentuckians are rightfully proud to claim President Lincoln as one of their native sons,” said Sen. Carroll Gibson (R-Leitchfield). “We can all be proud of this beautiful license plate, too. It will be a daily reminder to everyone that Kentucky is the original Land of Lincoln.”
“Wherever Kentuckians travel people will be reminded by this special license plate that Kentucky is the birthplace of one of America’s greatest presidents,” said Rep. Dottie Sims (D-Horse Cave). “I am also very pleased that Renaissance on Main funding will be available to help present downtown Hodgenville in the best possible light to the thousands of visitors who will come to celebrate the Lincoln Bicentennial.”
“LaRue County and Hodgenville have led the way in Kentucky’s efforts to reclaim the Lincoln heritage,” said Kent Whitworth, executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), which administers the bicentennial commission. “It’s exciting to see the local and statewide efforts come together so that Kentucky can reclaim its Lincoln heritage during the upcoming bicentennial commemoration,” Whitworth said.
Governor Fletcher also presented a $25,000 check representing a block grant from the bicentennial commission to the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville. The block grant will be used to enhance the museum’s infrastructure and interpretation in preparation for the bicentennial celebration.
Many Lincoln-related events are already under way. The bicentennial commission, with its administrative team at KHS and its Commerce Cabinet partners, has positioned Kentucky as a leader in the Lincoln Bicentennial. The goal of the commission is to reclaim Kentucky’s Lincoln heritage, develop educational tools for use in Kentucky classrooms and strengthen Kentucky’s historic sites and museums.
For information about the Lincoln Bicentennial, visit the commission’s Web site at www.kylincoln.org.
Renaissance on Main is a community revitalization grant program that provides cities with funding for downtown restoration and maintenance. The grant program focuses on promoting economic development and preserving local heritage.
Renaissance on Main grants are available for certified Renaissance On Main cities through a competitive application process. The Renaissance On Main program partners with the Kentucky Heritage Council/Main Street Program, Kentucky Department of Tourism, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky Housing Corp., Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and the Governor’s Office for Local Development, which administers the program.