Governor's Office for Local Development
Grapevine Cemetery Receives Cemetery Preservation Grant for Governor Laffoon’s Grave Site

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 24, 2006  
Contact Information:  Samantha Cook
Public Information Officer

           Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) today announced a $25,000 Cemetery Preservation Grant for Grapevine Cemetery.  This grant will be used for restoration activities.

            “It is important we treasure our Kentucky cemeteries," said Governor Fletcher. "Governor Laffoon and others buried at Grapevine Cemetery deserve a beautiful resting place.”

Cemetery Preservation Funds will be used to perform initial cleanup, landscaping, and fencing.

            Senator Jerry Rhoads (D-Madisonville) said, “Grapevine Cemetery is a historical landmark in Hopkins County and has great significance as the final resting place for a former governor.”

            During his administration, Governor Ruby Laffoon created a state sales tax,

            Representative Eddie Ballard (D-Madisonville) said, “I personally wanted to see this project receive funding.  It has been an honor to work with Bonnie Metcalfe and her colleagues with the cemetery.  I look forward to future projects in Hopkins County.”

Representative Jim Gooch (D-Providence) said, “The site improvements will make this area more accessible while preserving the historical importance of this cemetery.  We should take care of our past, so that not only our children but our children’s children will appreciate it”

            Governor Laffoon set the record for the number of Kentucky Colonels commissioned by a governor.  Governor Laffoon commissioned Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) ™ founder Harland Sanders as a Kentucky Colonel. 

Representative Brent Yonts (D-Greenville) said, “Governor Laffoon is a Western Kentuckian, and as a Western Kentuckian myself, restoring the cemetery to its original state is important.  Restoring this cemetery preserves our link to Kentucky’s past.”

Governor Laffoon was born in Hopkins County and died in 1941.

            The Kentucky Cemetery Preservation program funds maintenance, preservation and restoration activities.  Examples of maintenance activities include initial cleanup and landscaping, purchasing equipment, fencing, signage and improving interior roads. Preservation and restoration activities include acquiring conservation easements, surveying boundaries and repairing and cleaning tombstones.

Other activities that are eligible for funding are historic research, archiving, training to support cemetery preservation and improving access roads.

Counties may establish five-member county cemetery boards to apply for grants. State agencies, local governments, and certain nonprofit organizations – cemeteries, historical and genealogical groups, and local civic groups – also may apply. However, applications from county boards will receive funding priority.

The maximum grant that a group can receive is $25,000 and the minimum grant is $1,000, and a one-to-one local match is required.

A five-member state board oversees the program and makes funding decisions. The state board is chaired by the Commissioner of GOLD and also represents the Kentucky Heritage Council, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Association of Counties and the Kentucky African-American Heritage Commission.