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Second Rebuilding Project Begins in Eastern Kentucky
Kentucky Ag Connection - 01/26/2023

As part of his ongoing commitment to help Eastern Kentucky rebuild after devastating flooding six months ago, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a second location for new, high-ground homes.

Located just five miles from downtown Hazard, the 50-acre building site is close to schools, shopping centers and the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center. Plans for the first phase of the site include approximately 150 houses, partially funded by the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund in partnership with local nonprofit builders.

“Rebuilding on high ground is a chance to lift up entire communities with upgraded infrastructure and safe, affordable, energy-efficient homes,” Beshear said. “But our work in Eastern Kentucky is not done until there is prosperity in the entire region.”

The Ison family is contributing prime land for the project.

“This land is located near the heart of Hazard and can be a real boost to the community. There’s really no better use for such a great piece of land than to improve housing. Better and more housing attracts better jobs and a better future,” said Paul Ison.

Additional parcels of land will be developed in later project phases.

“To be at this point so quickly is a great day for the community. As we work to rebuild and recover, housing is one of the biggest issues that we face,” Perry County Judge/Executive Scott Alexander said. “Perry County was in a housing crisis prior to the July 2022 flood disaster. Now we are in a catastrophic housing situation. I want to thank Gov. Beshear and his team, as well as the legislators, for such a quick response to working with Perry County to help solve the housing situation.”

The state continues to evaluate multiple sites in four counties: Perry, Knott, Letcher and Breathitt. These counties account for a combined 75% of the homes lost to flood damage.

Extensive geotechnical testing will be conducted on all potential building sites at appropriate times in the planning and construction process.

Olive Branch Community in Knott County

Just one month ago, Beshear announced the first building site near the Talcum community on the Knott/Perry County line. Initial concepts for the Olive Branch community include small, medium and large home lots, senior apartments, park and recreation space and an elementary school. Homes will be partially funded by the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.

Initial planning has begun and will include an improved water treatment facility, roads and utilities for the area which will benefit the entire region. Infrastructure projects have multiple funding streams, including Eastern Kentucky SAFE funds and Federal ARPA funds.

“This is a model we are seeing works well in Western Kentucky. We’re on track to build hundreds of homes in the west. After a disaster, a new home provides stability, security and hope for a prosperous future. That’s what we plan to build in Eastern Kentucky, too,” said Gov. Beshear.

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund

To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.1 million from more than 41,000 donors. To contribute, click here. For other information regarding flooding in Eastern Kentucky, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

“While we are at the beginning of long-term rebuilding projects, we are also working to make an impact with new housing in the shorter term,” said Beshear.

The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund committed $600,000 in funds to build eight new homes in partnership with the Housing Development Alliance and Homes Inc. The fund is providing $75,000 per home for building materials.

The fund is also assisting flood survivors with home repairs by providing $200,000 in matching funds through a partnership with Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. The money will go directly to individuals and families located outside of a designated flood plain for essential repairs with no administrative costs.

“These funds provide an immediate impact on the number of houses we are able to build. Literally, overnight, hundreds of people lost everything they’d worked so hard for, and now, they are struggling to rebuild their lives. Each house is a promise of hope for a family,” said Scott McReynolds, executive director of Housing Development Alliance Inc.

“Housing can’t wait. Repairing and building homes is our highest priority and our No. 1 need across the region. This matching grant means that 80 additional families can benefit from little- or no-cost repairs,” said Gerry Roll, chief executive officer of Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. “We believe that reclaiming the power of community for Appalachian Kentucky begins with investing in the people rooted here.”


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