Gov. Beshear Announces Second High-Ground Residential Community in Knott County, Presents Local Funding Awards

This marks fourth high-ground community announcement in Eastern Kentucky

LEBURN, Ky. (July 28, 2023) – Today, one year after the deadly flooding in Eastern Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a second high-ground residential community for flood survivors in Knott County. The Governor also presented $3.6 million in funding to support roads and a local nonprofit in the region.

“One year ago, when the floods hit, we promised each other that we would be there for one another until every life and structure is rebuilt,” said Gov. Beshear. “Today we get to announce plans for a new, safe and resilient high-ground community in Knott County that will lift up this entire region. This announcement, along with today’s local funding announcements, shows that, together, we are making good on that promise of building a brighter tomorrow for our Eastern Kentucky families.”

“The funds announced for Knott County today will improve the reliability and safety of our roads,” said Knott County Judge/Executive Jeff Dobson. “These are critically important projects, and we are appreciative of the funding. We’ll continue working to make Knott County a better and safer place.”

Chestnut Ridge High-Ground Community
The new high-ground community will be located along Chestnut Ridge Drive near Soft Shell, east of the Knott County Sportsplex.

The high-ground community will be on more than 100 acres and will include single-family residential lots, walking trails, outdoor recreation areas and more.

The Governor said that before Team Kentucky acquires the $2.37 million property, it must undergo a federal environmental review to determine its eligibility for Community Development Block Grants – Disaster Relief Funding (HUD – CDBG-DR). The property owners, Western Pocahontas Properties, will be donating the right of way for the access road. Gov. Beshear noted that the anticipated date for breaking ground on the new community is this fall and that Team Kentucky intends to use HUD – CDBG-DR federal funding through the Kentucky Housing Corporation to build the homes.

The Governor thanked Western Pocahontas Properties, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, the Kentucky River Area Development District and staff at the Department for Local Government, the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Public Protection Cabinet and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for their partnership.

Gov. Beshear also noted that the acreage Team Kentucky is developing will accompany land donated by Joe and Kelly Craft to the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. The combined community is anticipated to have approximately 200 homes, potentially with multifamily apartments.

Today’s announcement marks the fourth high-ground building site the Governor has announced. In December 2022, the Governor announced plans for the first high-ground community in the community of Talcum, in Knott County near the Perry County line. In January, Gov. Beshear announced a 50-acre building site for new homes just five miles from downtown Hazard. In June, in partnership with FEMA, plans were announced for high-ground homes in Letcher County. This week the Governor also announced $2 million to help Floyd County acquire two vacant lots in Prestonsburg to build 33 new homes and rehabilitate one vacant home.

Transportation Awards
Gov. Beshear highlighted $125,000 in discretionary funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to Knott County. The Governor previously announced this funding at a Team Kentucky Update.

The awards brought $75,000 used to patch over 2.5 miles of Holly Bush Road all the way to the end of the county maintenance line. The remaining $50,000 was used to patch over 6 miles of Laurel Park Road.

Federal Transit Administration Award
Gov. Beshear also highlighted the $3.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding that is going to the Eastern Kentucky nonprofit LKLP Community Action Council. This funding is part of the $11.5 million in federal funding the Governor announced last month to support 10 rural Kentucky transit agencies.

This $3.5 million will be used for facility updates and maintenance, a roof replacement, restriping parking lots, new laptops and more to improve the service that LKLP Community Action Council provides to the people of Knott, Leslie, Letcher and Perry counties.

“The LKLP Community Action board of directors and staff are thrilled about the Federal Transit Administration and Commonwealth of Kentucky investments in public transportation in Leslie, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties,” said Ricky Baker, executive director of LKLP Community Action. “LKLP Community Action has provided public transportation and other human services to the residents of Leslie, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties since 1966. These funds will be used to replace a facility that was destroyed in the July 2022 flood and to repair and maintain our other transit facilities in Leslie, Knott and Perry counties.”

Legislators who represent Knott County celebrated today’s announcements.

“Today is a win for Knott and Letcher counties, as well as the families of southeast Kentucky who will benefit from these road improvements and new Transit Administrative Facility in Letcher County,” said Sen. Johnnie Turner of Harlan. “I know his schedule is hectic over the coming months, but I want to thank Gov. Beshear for taking the time to make the trip down to Leburn to celebrate with the families of the 29th Senate District.” 

“While we remember the horrors faced in our community that took place just a year ago, it is an honor to announce such integral funding coming to Knott County,” said Rep. John Blanton of Salyersville. “The legislature has fought hard to make sure these mechanisms stay in place to support the counties that need it most, and it will be exciting to see much needed updates come to fruition as a result of this work.”

Before his stop in Knott County, the Governor joined community leaders at CANE Kitchen in Whitesburg for the “Growing Home Community Revival Luncheon: One Year After the Flood,” which is part of a multiday community celebration, to discuss progress made in Letcher County following last year’s floods.