WEBSTER CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Governor Andy Beshear made two stops in Western Kentucky on Wednesday.
His second stop was in Webster County to present nearly $1 million in grant funds for Western Kentucky communities.
Those funds come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Governor Beshear says recipients of the grant will use the funds to purchase land for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center in Webster County and to upgrade the outdated Job Corps Sewer system in Union County.
Gov. Beshear also announced more than $750,000 from the Transportation Cabinet to improve highway safety near Kentucky schools.
Officials say the CDBG funds are designed to expand economic opportunities and development in communities across Kentucky.
Webster and Union counties applied jointly for $472,000 to purchase property for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center.
“They are looking at more opportunities with the abundant amount of space we have at this location,” Webster County Judge Executive Steve Henry said. “We’re able to bring more opportunities to this facility to help this region.”
In collaboration with Madisonville Community College, the facility will train students as utility linemen and diesel mechanics and help them obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
“We have been able to supply equipment needed to giving this mining facility a new life as a training and educational economic driver for this community,” Madisonville Community College President Dr. Cindy Kelley said. “Together, we’re all working to build it.”
The former administrative offices at the Dotiki Mine, which closed in 2019 and has remained unused since will house the training center.
The recipients will use former mine land to train dislocated coal miners for new careers as the community readjusts following mine closures and job loss in the industry.
Webster and Union Counties were also awarded more than $350,000 from the Delta Regional Authority for this project, making the total funding for this project more than $800,000.
Union County and Morganfield applied jointly for $500,000 to upgrade the Job Corps sanitary sewer system, which will provide modern infrastructure and improve service at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Center, an extension of the national Job Corps residential career training program.
The program is a tuition-free training and education program that helps Kentuckians ages 16 to 24 complete their high school education while simultaneously training them for careers. The center offers programs in welding, maintenance and light repair, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, certified nursing assistantship, culinary arts and more.
“This will give them the opportunity to go into a field that is very high demand right now, comes with great pay and great benefits,” Henry said.
Upon completion, the applicants will replace oversized sewer lines and approximately 310 brick manholes. Additionally, they will rehabilitate approximately 67,000 linear feet of eight-inch clay pipe using trenchless methods. By upgrading this infrastructure, the collection system will have appropriately sized pipes and will resolve major infiltration and inflow issues.
Gov. Beshear also announced transportation investments of $750,070 in Webster and Union Counties to improve highway safety and infrastructure near western Kentucky schools.
In Webster County, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will invest $750,000 to design and construct two-way left turns on KY 1340. This will provide easier and safer access into three Webster County schools, the Webster County Area Technology Center and neighboring athletic fields. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.
In Union County, a $70,000 repair project will be performed to install lining in a ditch along US 60 to combat erosion that could damage the nearby Union County High School student parking lot and create drop-offs if not corrected. Work is expected to begin in 2021.