Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) visited Morehead today and surprised officials with the announcement of a $150,000 Renaissance on Main grant for the city of Morehead. Funding will be used for the restoration of the Old Rowan County Courthouse.
“These grant dollars help communities provide resources to downtown districts, making them more economically vibrant,” said Governor Fletcher. “The improvements will attract more people to downtown Morehead and provide business owners in the area with an increase in their customer base.”
Renaissance on Main funds will be used to restore the Old Rowan County Courthouse to be used as a center for the creative and performing arts. The facility is expected to employ up to four individuals including an executive director as well as clerical, custodial and maintenance personnel.
“The arts are an important facet of the history and culture in the eastern Kentucky region,” said Sen. Walter Blevins (D-Sandy Hook). “This facility will provide Morehead with an arena for local artisans to display their artwork and performance skills for their fellow citizens. To save this historic building is a tremendous accomplishment.”
Local officials hope to use the facility as a means to draw more tourists, both residents and non-residents, into downtown Morehead. This may translate into more job creation in local restaurants, hotels and other businesses. Officials intend for the facility to serve as the focal point for a new downtown streetscape plan that is currently being developed.
Rep. Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook) said, "We have only begun to see the impact that tourism is having across Kentucky, with the advent of adventure tourism as well as other forms of recreational activities. By creating an environment that is inviting to tourists, Morehead has unlimited potential for economic prosperity.”
The Rowan County Fiscal Court has committed $1 million in funding for the renovation and the project has received an additional $1 million in funding from private sources. The courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of only a few 19th Century structures remaining in the downtown area. The facility, along with the Center for Traditional Music and the Folk Art Museum currently operating in Morehead, will solidify the promotion of the arts in Rowan County.
“It is encouraging when state and community leaders can come together and utilize various resources that are available for projects like this,” noted Rep. John Will Stacy (D-West Liberty). “This project not only reconditions an existing structure in downtown Morehead, but creates a unique opportunity for area residents and visitors to enjoy attractions that are close to home.”
Renaissance on Main rewards communities that take steps to revitalize and maintain vibrant, economically sound development in Kentucky's downtown areas. Partners for the Renaissance on Main program include the Kentucky Heritage Council/Main Street Program, the Kentucky Department of Tourism, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, the Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Kentucky League of Cities, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Governor’s Office for Local Development. The Governors Office for Local Development administers this program.
ARC Funding Approved for Morehead State University
Governor Fletcher also announced the federal approval of an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant in the amount of $108,000 for Morehead State University (MSU). Funding will be used to purchase equipment required to establish a Nursing Laboratory at its Mt. Sterling regional campus to facilitate the initiation of the offering of an Associate Degree in Nursing program.
Currently, there exists a shortage of trained and certified nursing personnel to adequately address the needs in Montgomery and surrounding Appalachian counties. MSU has an established Department of Nursing, which offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the BSN for Licensed Practical Nurses at the main campus and at the Prestonsburg regional campus. This new lab will allow MSU to begin to offer the Associate Degree in Nursing at this campus in the Spring 2007 semester.
Once equipped, MSU plans to admit up to 20 students per semester.