FRANKFORT, Ky. – Projects in Ashland, Grayson, Morehead, Louisa and Prestonsburg have been selected to share about $200,000 in economic development grants from Kentucky Power. The awards are part of Kentucky Power’s commitment through the Kentucky Power Economic Advancement Program (KEAP) to provide $1 million to communities in Eastern Kentucky through 2019.
“Kentucky Power takes great pride in working with local, regional and state organizations to promote stronger economies and economic growth in the communities we serve,” said Greg Pauley, Kentucky Power president and chief operating office. “We are doing what we can to assist in the development of our region and in adding meaningful, sustainable and good paying jobs. Through KEAP, and other programs, we are striving to be a partner for progress.”
The KEAP program was created as part of a 2014 agreement with the Kentucky Public Service Commission and other interveners to provide economic development assistance to customers in Kentucky Power’s service area. KEAP is specific to seven counties in Kentucky Power’s service area – Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Johnson, Martin and Morgan. The grants must be used for programs and projects, such as job retention; expansion surveys; wage and benefit surveys; retaining and attracting new industries; and conducting special studies.
Recipients of the 2015 grants are:
- The Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Authority: $100,000. The grant will be used to prepare a build-ready site in East Park, a multi-county industrial park owned by Boyd, Carter, Lawrence, Greenup and Elliot counties. The site would accommodate a 100,000 square foot building with expansion opportunities.
- The Louisa Chapter of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: $90,300. The grant will be used to renovate an existing 86,000 square foot building adjacent to Browns Food Service in Louisa and market it as a site-ready business location.
- Gateway, FivCo and Big Sandy Area Development Districts: $9,700. The grants will allow each district to send one representative to the second year of training at the three-year Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute. The grant also will fund attendance of additional staff to the Kentucky Institute of Economic Development basic course in Lexington.
“KEAP is a competitive grant program that is meant to assist with the funding of economic development projects that promote the creation and retention of manufacturing and/or industrial investment and jobs in Eastern Kentucky,” said Brad Hall, Kentucky Power’s external affairs manager for economic development. “The funds used in the program are those of AEP shareholders and not Kentucky Power ratepayers. The funds are meant to foster development in our area and will not be charged back to our customers.”
All grant applications were reviewed by a six-member committee comprised of four Kentucky Power employees and two outside, economic development professionals. The outside professionals represented the Kentucky Association of Economic Development and Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet.
“It was difficult for the committee to finalize and make its recommendations, but in the end, the recipients are the ones judged to have the best, or perhaps most immediate, impact on area development,” Hall said. “We encourage those who applied this year -- and others who did not -- to submit applications again next year and the years to follow. We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in the KEAP process and all those who submitted applications in hopes of furthering economic development.”
Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Frankfort, Ky., provides service to approximately 172,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties. It is a unit of the AEP system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.