Gov. Beshear Provides Team Kentucky Update


FRANKFORT, Ky.  – On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on economic development; funding from the Disaster Recovery Program; progress on high-ground communities in Eastern Kentucky; the 50th anniversary of the historic 1974 tornadoes; being named States’ Co-Chair of Delta Regional Authority; sports betting in Kentucky during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; planning ahead of the April 8 solar eclipse; and Derby Week Kick-off at the Capitol. He also named those working to prevent child abuse as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

Economic Development
Gov. Beshear highlighted continued site and building development as two Kentucky Product Development Initiative projects in Breckinridge and Pike counties were approved for over $2.3 million in state funding.

The Governor congratulated Bespoken Spirits on the grand opening of its newly relocated corporate headquarters and manufacturing operation in Lexington, an exciting new announcement within the state’s signature bourbon and spirits industry. This is a $3.2 million investment creating 16 quality Kentucky jobs paying an average hourly wage of $70.77 including benefits.

Today, the Governor joined local officials from Boone County and leaders from F&E Aircraft Maintenance (FEAM Aero) to celebrate the grand opening of the company’s new $45 million three-bay hangar at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, a facility that is creating nearly 250 full-time positions, including at least 124 Kentucky-resident jobs.

Lastly, the Governor provided a recap on five planned economic development projects over five days that could bring thousands of new jobs and billions in investment to the commonwealth. The announcements come thanks to as much as $961 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding and companies betting on Kentucky, including what could be the two largest projects ever in Eastern Kentucky, and possibly the largest project in Shelby County history.

Disaster Recovery Program
Gov. Beshear announced that beginning April 1, the Department for Local Government will begin taking applications for funding from Kentucky’s 2022 Disaster Recovery Program. This program is helping communities impacted by the flooding of 2022. Applications will be accepted for projects addressing housing, infrastructure, economic development and resiliency planning from the $297,994,000 allocated to Kentucky by the federal government to respond to the flooding of 2022. For more, see the full release.

Gov. Beshear also announced the awards from the 2021 application cycle of the Disaster Recovery Program.

Letcher County Fiscal Court will use $8,707,500 to build 29 total homes in the communities of Seco and Uz. The project will also include the installation of infrastructure to support the new homes, including roads, water, sewer and electric. Letcher County was affected by flooding in 2021 and 2022. Letcher County Judge/Executive Terry Adams accepted the award on behalf of the county, and Jenkins Mayor Todd DePriest expressed appreciation for the program.

The city of Mayfield will use $5,924,330 to make improvements to the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan and Public Works Director Aaron Blount attended and accepted the funds on behalf of the city.

The city of Jackson will use $2,358,000 to build eight homes for flood survivors. The city of Jackson was affected by flooding in 2021 and 2022. Jackson Mayor Laura Thomas accepted the award on behalf of the city, and Breathitt County Judge/Executive Jeff Noble spoke in support of the funds.

The city of Bowling Green will use $2,021,635 to build two duplexes and six single-family homes, bolstering access to affordable housing in the city. Bowling Green City Manager Jeff Meisel and the team from Habitat for Humanity spoke in support of the award.

Fulton County Fiscal Court will use $2 million to acquire 12 lots to build homes for tornado survivors. Fulton Judge/Executive Jim Martin accepted the award and spoke in support of the program.

Marshall County Fiscal Court will use $654,000 for a home rehabilitation project to repair homes damaged in the tornadoes. Marshall Deputy Judge/Executive Andy Pagel accepted the funds on behalf of the county.

Progress on High-Ground Communities in Eastern Kentucky
Gov. Beshear highlighted progress at the high-ground community in Floyd County on the former site of the Wayland Volunteer Fire Department. The Governor said that infrastructure is in place, and the commonwealth’s building partner, Appalachian Service Project, has started framing 7 of the 11 homes that will be built on the 4-acre site.

The Governor also updated Kentuckians on progress at the future Skyview community in Perry County, where contractors are already reshaping Skyview Lane to provide access to the community. Crews are currently clearing brush, doing work to control runoff and grading the road to get it into good shape for construction vehicles and prepare it for future paving. The Governor thanked the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet staff for overseeing the project and said that work on the road should wrap up by the end of May or early June, if favorable weather prevails.

The Wayland and Skyview communities are two of the seven high-ground communities announced in Eastern Kentucky to date, and once completed, the seven communities will be home to over 500 families.

“A lot of progress has already been made, and crews are working every day to move these projects forward and families into these new homes,” said Gov. Beshear. “Building on high ground is an opportunity to provide safe, affordable housing, outside of the flood plain, including much-needed infrastructure and community buildings that can uplift the entire area.”

50th Anniversary of Historic Tornadoes
The Governor commemorated the 50th anniversary of the April 1974 tornadoes that struck a large section of the eastern and central United States, including in Kentucky. Across the country, 315 lives were lost, including more than 70 Kentuckians and more than 6,000 Americans were injured. It was the second-largest tornado outbreak on record for a single, 24-hour period in the commonwealth, with 30 F4/F5 tornadoes that produced widespread damage across Kentucky.

The hardest hit community was Stamping Ground in Scott County, where 250 homes and businesses, including the town’s only school, its city hall and two churches were destroyed.

“Today, as we reflect on this anniversary, our hearts are with everyone who experienced loss in these storms,” Gov. Beshear said. “We remember and honor all of the first responders and heroes who responded to the tornadoes in 1974, and we also recognize how far we have come. Fifty years later, the homes and businesses in Stamping Ground are rebuilt, and the community stands strong. We have had to face too many natural disasters here in Kentucky, but after every tragedy, we can and we must work to respond better and faster than we did the last time to save as many lives as possible.”

Gov. Beshear Named States’ Co-Chair of Delta Regional Authority
The Governor also expressed his excitement about being elected by his fellow Delta region governors to serve as the States’ Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) for 2024. In this role, Gov. Beshear will work alongside Federal Co-Chair Dr. Corey Wiggins to lead the DRA in bolstering economic and community growth across the eight states of the region.

Sports Betting During the NCAA Men’s Tournament
The Governor provided an update on sports wagering in the commonwealth, as Kentuckians have been able to place bets on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time this year. Preliminary numbers indicate that after the first two rounds, more than $34 million was wagered in Kentucky on the tournament, retail and mobile combined. This includes $18.6 million in round one and $15.4 million in round two.

April 8 Solar Eclipse
The Governor reminded Kentuckians to prepare for heavy traffic when the moon’s shadow sweeps across the commonwealth’s western counties and a dozen other states during the afternoon of Monday, April 8. Travelers planning to view the total solar eclipse should expect congested highways and limited parking at rest stops, and pack essentials to ensure a safe and comfortable ride if they experience prolonged delays. To prepare for increased traffic, transportation officials are lifting lane restrictions in select work zones and are informing commercial truck drivers of expected traffic.

“If you’re going to be one of the hundreds of thousands traveling to, or through, the commonwealth to participate in this memorable occasion on April 8, be sure to plan ahead to ensure it’s a safe and memorable event,” said Gov. Beshear. “Like many of you, I’m looking forward to sporting my eclipse glasses and enjoying the show.”

For more solar eclipse information, including tips and traffic information, see the full release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Derby Week Kick-off at the Capitol
Gov. Beshear announced that this year’s Derby Week Kick-off will be held Saturday, April 27, from 12 to 5 p.m. EDT on the South Lawn of the Capitol. The event will have live musical performances, food trucks, games, crafts and a kazoo parade for kids, a book reading hosted by The Paul Sawyer Public Library and Commonfest for the adults, where attendees can purchase beer and spirits from dozens of Kentucky breweries, wineries and craft distillers.

“This annual event has gotten better each year and is a way to showcase what Kentucky has to offer, from live music to vendors, artists and so much more. I look forward to seeing everyone there,” said Gov. Beshear.

Team Kentucky All-Stars
Early Thursday, Gov. Beshear, First Lady Britainy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman joined advocates and members of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky in the Capitol Rotunda, where the Governor declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the commonwealth.

The Governor also signed into law House Bill 207, sponsored by Representative Stephanie Dietz, which further protects Kentucky children from predators.

During today’s briefing, the Governor named those who work to prevent childhood abuse as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

“As a dad, as a person of faith and as Governor, I believe there is no more sacred responsibility for us than to protect children,” Gov. Beshear said. “Preventing child abuse takes all of Team Kentucky working together. So, I want to thank everyone in the commonwealth who works to prevent childhood abuse. You do more than heal one child, or one set of parents – you all are helping create stronger, healthier, more loving families for generations.”

Register for our Birthday/Anniversary Club!!