Funds will be used to install new sidewalk at Louisa Middle School, improve fire department facilities and extend water lines to serve 58 new households
LOUISA, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear presented $2.4 million in award funding to Lawrence County. The awards will: install a new pedestrian and bike path and sidewalk that will connect local schools; help renovate a fire station; construct a new fire station; and install water lines to serve 58 households.
“All of this funding will improve the health and safety of Kentuckians, and nothing is more important to me than that,” Gov. Beshear said. “Whether it’s through pedestrian safety near a school, new and improved stations for our first responders or providing clean water to unserved communities, these projects are moving Kentucky forward.”
Louisa Middle School Sidewalk Project
Today, Gov. Beshear presented a ceremonial check for $98,842 to the City of Louisa for the construction of a pedestrian/bike path and new sidewalk that will connect local schools, athletic facilities, health care providers and neighborhoods.
The funding is from the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and is administered by the Department of Rural and Municipal Aid of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).
The project will stretch nearly four-tenths of a mile at 10-feet wide, beginning at Louisa Middle School as an asphalt bike/pedestrian path, running along Kentucky Highway 644 to its intersection with Meadowbrook Lane, at which point the path transitions to a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side of Meadowbrook to its intersection with Gene Wilson Boulevard and along Gene Wilson to Pearl Street.
“When Mr. Thomas Bradley approached us on this project, we were excited for the opportunity to provide a safer route for students that walk to and from our middle and high schools,” said Dr. Robbie Fletcher, superintendent of Lawrence County Schools. “By adding these sidewalks, students will be farther away from the traffic of Route 644, and safety is always our top priority.”
Louisa Volunteer Fire Station Renovations
Gov. Beshear also presented a ceremonial check to the City of Louisa for $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The money is for renovations to the Louisa Volunteer Fire Station at 215 N. Main Street.
The renovations will include:
- New meeting and training rooms for firefighters;
- Replacing dilapidated garage doors;
- Installing a new roof;
- Installing a new ceiling; and
- Addressing other general maintenance issues.
“The current station was built in 1972 and has served the citizens ever since,” said Eddie Preston, chief of the Louisa Volunteer Fire Department. “Today, the station is in need of a lot of attention. For example, when it rains outside, it rains inside, and the roof is in very bad condition. The office area walls are crumbling. It is practically falling in.”
Chief Preston continued, “With the funding that we are receiving today, the firefighters and citizens will be blessed with a revitalized and modern firehouse that will last for many years. Thanks to Mayor Slone for working with Gov. Beshear to secure this funding.”
“These awards today make Louisa a safer place to live and work,” Mayor Harold Slone said. “These projects both improve walkability for our youth and public safety for our entire community. Thank you to the ones that provided assistance to me in this process.”
Blaine Volunteer Fire Station Construction
The Blaine Volunteer Fire Station in Lawrence County was destroyed by fire in 2013. Since then, the department has relied on staging its trucks and equipment at various locations throughout the district. Today, Gov. Beshear presented a ceremonial check to Lawrence County representing $750,000 in CDBG funds to help construct a new fire station at 999 Highway 469 in Martha. The new facility will include two vehicle bays, a kitchenette, a training and meeting room, an office and restroom facilities. The primary service area of the station covers approximately 119 square miles and 1,456 households.
“The CDBG grant will be a game-changer for our department,” said Jeremy Wheeler, chief of the Blaine Volunteer Fire Department. “We will be able to store more of our equipment on site as well as add more equipment in the future. After our old station burnt down, the current building isn’t able to house all the demanding needs of our station. After working on this grant for several years I am very excited to see it come to reality.”
Lawrence County Water Line Extensions
Gov. Beshear also announced his approval of $867,000 in Cleaner Water Program funds to the Big Sandy Water District. The funds will help install over four miles of new water lines in Lawrence County along KY 1690, Pleasant Valley, Meades Branch, Jude Hollow, Brushy Road, Oakley Road and Nelson Road. The new lines will serve 58 currently unserved households.
“I am grateful for the Beshear administration’s efforts to realize the vision of the General Assembly by providing appropriated funds to secure more services to rural areas, particularly, fire service and water,” Sen. Phillip Wheeler of Pikeville said. “These funds will go a long way toward ensuring that the City of Louisa and the City of Blaine can protect their residents and continue to make Lawrence County an area of continued growth in Eastern Kentucky.”
“Today’s announcement is a major win for Lawrence County. This investment reaffirms our commitment to supporting those who continue to protect our neighborhoods. No matter the circumstances, these hometown heroes answer the call and spring into action. Simply considering the challenging work they do, this strategic investment is going to make a big difference,” Rep. Scott Sharp of Ashland said. “I’m thankful for the General Assembly’s commitment to providing significant resources in our community. The new sidewalk will help ensure the safety of our children at Louisa Middle School, and we are also providing reliable access to clean drinking water in unserved areas for the first time.”
“This funding will help install water lines to serve more residents in Lawrence County,” said Paul Thomas, chairman of the Big Sandy Water District. “This project will really help people who aren’t currently served by public water.”
In sum, the projects invest $2,465,842 in Lawrence County.
“The Lawrence County Fiscal Court and I wish to thank Gov. Beshear, Senior Advisor Rocky Adkins as well as the Department for Local Government and KYTC for these TAP, CDBG and waterline extension grants,” Lawrence County Judge/Executive Phillip Carter said. “The CDBG grant for the new Blaine Fire Department will help serve the citizens in the Blaine area and be a wonderful and much needed asset. The water line grant will help serve our citizens with clean water that they are in desperate need of.”
About the Transportation Alternatives Program
TAP is a federally funded reimbursement program administered through KYTC’s Office of Local Programs. Funding supports non-motorized forms of transportation to improve connectivity, accessibility, safety and equity in communities. Transportation projects commonly include bicycle and pedestrian pathways, ADA compliance, Safe Routes to School and wildlife mitigation. The program covers 80% of the project cost.
About the Community Development Block Grant Program
The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities. CDBG funds are administered by the Department for Local Government.
About the Cleaner Water Program
Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, $500 million has been appropriated through a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to provide clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky since 2021.