Gov. Andy Beshear’s office announced in a statement July 27 that Pikeville is among several communities to share in a total of $13 million in funding intended to support job growth and industrial expansion.
According to the statement, the University of Pikeville (UPike) will receive a $4.4 million grant to support the construction of the UPike Ag-Tech Innovation Center of Excellence, an agritech research and education center to be located at the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park at Marion Branch. in Pikeville.
The project will be matched with $5.75 million in local funds.
The project, the statement said, aims to promote job growth by bringing innovative industry to the area while enhancing educational opportunities for UPike students. The statement said the facility will include a greenhouse, classroom space, laboratory and offices to lead high-tech agriculture research efforts that aid the industry’s continued development and long-term viability while supporting increasing worldwide demand for food production.
The awards, the statement said, are funded through the US Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $300 million Coal Communities Commitment program, which supports coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and helps them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the expansion of new industry sectors, and their American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities.
“These investments will bring much-needed improvements to four Kentucky communities,” Beshear said in the statement. The awards will help construct two natural gas lines, improve a sanitary sewer system and create an agritech education and research center in our commonwealth. I want to thank (US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo) and her team for prioritizing Kentucky’s needs in providing this crucial funding.”
Other communities receiving funding are Henry County, Hendersonville and Monticello, according to the statement.