By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
A federal initiative called “Promise Zones” wants to provide tools for communities to help them rebound economically.
One regional economic development organization serving Knox County thinks it’s a good fit.
The Knox County Fiscal Court thought so, too.
And that’s why they unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday, authorizing County Judge-Executive J. M. Hall to sign a memorandum of understanding to be a party to a Promise Zone application.
That application is being prepared by the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC), based in London.
The action came during the court’s regular meeting in Barbourville.
Knox is one of eight counties KHIC has designated to be in the project’s area. The others include most of Whitley County, as well as all of Bell, Clay, Harlan, Leslie, Perry and Letcher counties.
The application’s in response to what KHIC called a “devastating loss” of mining jobs in the coal-producing counties they serve since 2009. According to them, around 4,000 direct mining jobs, and 12,000 indirect mining jobs have been lost in eastern and southeastern Kentucky during that time.
Tom Manning-Beavin, KHIC’s Director of Housing, thinks putting Knox County into the zone will be beneficial for the county, as well as for the region.
“If the zone is designated, it would give us a leg up in grant application from federal agencies like USDA (U.S.Department of Agriculture), HUD (Housing and Urban Development), HHS (Health and Human Services) and the Department of Justice. The biggest impact will be to give priority points for federal applications,” Manning-Beavin said after the meeting.
Hall added, “This could help a lot of businesses locate here. It could give tax incentives for them to move here, and employ residents in the county.”
Manning-Beavin mentioned the first round of Promise Zones would have five zones designated. Of those five, one would be a rural zone, which is what KHIC, Berea College, and other partners have applied for.
“There are 27 eligible applicants nationwide, and we are one of them. We think we’ll have a pretty strong application,” he noted.
Information from KHIC described Promise Zones as similar to “Empowerment Zones,” to the extent they’re planned to bring resources from several federal agencies into a small geographic area that’s been economically distressed.
In other actions taken at the session, court members approved rescheduling next month’s regular meeting a week earlier to Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 11:30 a.m. That’s because the fourth Wednesday in December this year is Dec. 25 — Christmas Day.
Speaking of Christmas, approval was also given to the county’s holiday schedule for 2014, which remains the same as this year’s.
Starting in January 2014, county offices will be closed on New Year’s Day (Jan. 1), Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 20), Good Friday (April 18), Memorial Day (May 26), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (Sept. 1), Veterans’ Day (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27-28) and Christmas Day (Dec. 25-26).
Also approved was a new part-time employee at the Knox County Jail, Richard Hicks, who began on Oct. 29.
Hall said blacktop work by county road crews has been completed, and was done before Hinkle Contracting shut their plant down for the winter months. He also told court members the county’s considering doing some mowing work and getting brushes down, which would make it easier for county maintenance crews to do their mowing in the spring and summer months.
In the “Citizens Comments” portion of the agenda, it was noted the monthly “Prayer on the Square” session would be held this Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., and would be moved inside the courthouse in case of bad weather.
Hall noted next Monday begins the first-ever “Spirit of Christmas Festival” in downtown Barbourville, which will feature several holiday events and activities during the week and next weekend.
Presented by Barbourvillle Tourism, the festival includes the lighting of the Christmas Tree in front of the courthouse next Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., and the annual “I Believe in Santa Claus Parade,” which begins at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Dec. 7.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
- Local News
Budget amendment gets first read
Barbourville City Council members held the first reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Wednesday.
Community garden meeting coming April 25
Some folks in Knox County are looking at bringing some green space to Barbourville, and they need some help. But first, they’ll have an informational meeting on the community garden project next Friday, April 25.
Crash on Wyan Road seriously injures two
Two men remain in a Lexington hospital with serious injuries Wednesday, after they were involved in a one-car crash west of London Tuesday evening.
Public meeting at Goldbug Vol. Fire and Rescue Dept.
A public meeting is slated for 8 p.m. tonight at Goldbug Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, located at 869 Highway 26, Williamsburg.
Cumberland Falls now has ‘Butterfly Waystation’
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park has now officially become the first state park in Kentucky to have a “ButterFly Waystation.”
Woman questions judge/exec about daughter’s emergency care
Tensions exploded during Tuesday’s regular Whitley County Fiscal Court meeting — and much of the tension appeared to stem from an issue one woman has concerning her daughter’s care during an emergency situation alleged to have happened in the county.
Floss, Pyatt to perform at Corbin High
Promising “An Evening of Fun and Entertainment,” humorist, comedian and storyteller Howard Floss will join multi-award winning singer and songwriter Dale Pyatt on stage in Corbin on Saturday, May 17.
Leaders meet to plan Laurel River Lake Cleanup event
Leaders involved in the annual Laurel River Lake Cleanup met Tuesday to plan for the event.
CCU to give notice to get out of KU contract
A wholesale power supply contract between Kentucky Utilities and 12 city-owned utility companies in the state — including Corbin City Utilities — has raised some wattage lately.
Arena home to circus two nights in May
It’s been said everyone loves a circus. With that being said, “The Greatest Show on Earth” is coming to Corbin next month.
- More Local News Headlines
- Budget amendment gets first read