Lt. Governor in Harlan to award grants

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Harlan County Courthouse was host to Kentucky’s Lt. Governor on Monday, with Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman in town to award more than $1.8 million in funds for projects in Harlan County, including funding for a new fire station for the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department and funding for the city of Harlan, Black Mountain Utility District and Cawood Water District.

“It’s standing room only,” Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley told a crowded courtroom. “There are a lot of exciting things happening here today, thank you all for coming out … It’s an honor to be with you here today.”

According to a press release, Coleman presented four separate awards totaling $1,842,244. The funds will be used for fire safety upgrades, sidewalk replacement and water and sewer infrastructure improvements.

Mosley stated investment in public safety and infrastructure including roads, water and sewer improvements is a major part of public service.

“That’s why public service is what it is,” Mosley said. “To protect the public and give the public what they deserve, which is protection and safe, reliable drinking water. It’s an honor today to be here with Lt. Gov. Coleman … To announce some very exciting projects here in our community.”

Mosley recognized several members of city, county, and state government in attendance, including Harlan County Fiscal Court Magistrates Clark “Sparky” Middleton, Paul Browning, Jim Roddy and James Howard, Harlan Mayor Joe Meadors, Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins, Kentucky State Senator Johnnie Turner, Kentucky House Minority Caucus Whip Angie Hatton, and Kentucky State Representative Adam Bowling.

Mosley then turned the podium over to Coleman.

“I’m so happy to be here with all of you today here in Harlan,” Coleman said. “Especially because the news that we have to share is so exciting. I think we can all admit after the last couple of years, anytime we can share good news is a good day.”

The release states the programs are being funded from three different grant programs, including the Department for Local Government’s Community Development Block Grant Program, the Better Kentucky Plan’s Cleaner Water Program, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Transportation Alternatives Program as well as discretionary funding for road resurfacing from KYTC.

“These grants are going to help our families stay healthy and they’re going to ensure better protection during emergencies, too,” Gov. Andy Beshear said via a press release. “As we build a better Kentucky together, we need to continue investing in our infrastructure – from our water systems, to our roadways and our fire houses, just like we’re doing today.”

Coleman pointed out the grants will bring approximately $2 million to Harlan County.

The release states the funding awarded includes $820,000 to the Black Mountain Water District for replacement of more than 11,000 linear feet of leakage prone waterlines and to complete other system upgrades; $135,244 to the Cawood Water District to replace waterlines along Kentucky Highway 3001 and along U.S. Highway 421 with 8-inch ductile iron waterline;  $109,600 for the replacement of degraded pedestrian sidewalks and installing new sidewalks along May Street for the city of Harlan; and a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant to Harlan County for the construction of a 6,500-square-foot station for the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department at the corner of Sunshine Park and Duffield Street.

The new facility will house eight emergency vehicles with enough space for fire fighters to maintain and clean the vehicles after each run. Included in the new fire station will be a training area, secure storage, additional equipment storage, office space and restrooms. The station will sit on a 1-acre lot that has room for expansion and space to maneuver current equipment. The site and facility will continue to be owned, operated, maintained and insured by Harlan County.

Meadors addressed the funding awarded to the city of Harlan.

“The City of Harlan is thankful for this grant under the Safe Routes to School Initiative which will enable the city to replace sidewalks that our children use every day, some of which date back prior to the 1977 flood,” Meadors said. “We thank the Governor and his administration for this investment in our children’s future.”

Turner voiced his support for the projects.

“Investments in our infrastructure is something that every community needs to thrive,” said Turner. “Projects like these are something that we all support, and I’m glad to see Bell and Harlan counties benefit from funds allocated by the legislature but made possible by working taxpayers. I’m also pleased to see this contract finally being awarded for this much-needed second fire department.”

Hatton expressed her thoughts on the day.

“This is a great day for Harlan County, and it means a lot that Lt. Gov. Coleman traveled here to present these awards in person,” Hatton said. “I have been proud to work with my fellow legislators, the Beshear Administration and our local leaders to make projects like this possible, because they do so much to improve our quality of life.”

Mosley stated his appreciation for the funding on behalf of Harlan County.

“We are extremely thankful for the Cleaner Water Grant Program established through bipartisan collaboration by Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly,” Mosley said. “This funding announced today for Black Mountain Utility District and Cawood Water District will have a positive impact on a couple thousand customers here in Harlan County. Investments in the rehabilitation of water infrastructure improves the quality of life for our citizens. Upgrading technology in water delivery services results in less water loss and less outages for customers. This funding awarded today will do those important things for the people of Harlan County.”

Sunshine Fire Chief Steven Hatfield mentioned the new fire station has been in the works for more many years.

“We’re ecstatic,” Hatfield said. “We’ve outgrown the facility we’re in now. It’s taken a lot of work from county officials and the fire department, it’s taken 13 years since we bought the property to get to this point. It’s been a long road, but it looks like we’re going to get it done.”