FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Gov. Andy Beshear visited four Eastern Kentucky communities on Friday where he presented grants, announced support of legislation to help miners and discussed issues affecting Kentucky families including education and health care.
In collaboration with the Department for Local Government and the Transportation Cabinet, Beshear announced nearly $3 million for community improvement projects in Morehead, Sandy Hook and Louisa. He also visited Pikeville to tour the Pikeville Medical Center and discuss health care and other priorities of his administration.
The day-long swing began in Morehead, where he presented two grants from the Kentucky Department of Aviation in conjunction with FAA funding. The grants, totaling $2.4 million, will be used for runway pavement reconstruction and to replace outdated runway and taxiway lighting systems.
“The combined $2.4 million state investment will elevate the safety of the airport by correcting runway issues and replacing critical lighting systems for safer landings and takeoffs,” Beshear said.
He also announced a $250,000 Recreational Trails Program grant for improvements to the Triplett Valley Trail in Memorial Tree Walk Park. The trail is currently impassable for wheelchairs and strollers. With the funding, the city will resurface the trail to make it ADA accessible and add a bridge, connecting the park to Morehead State University and local businesses.
The second stop was in Sandy Hook, where the governor awarded Elliott County Fiscal Court with a $45,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to make necessary improvements to Addison Field. Currently, the park has no public restrooms, forcing the county to rent portable facilities. To remedy this problem, the county will construct a building equipped with restrooms, a changing facility, concessions and equipment storage.
He next headed to Louisa, where another RTP grant was announced.
Currently, there are no ADA accessible playgrounds in Lawrence County or the surrounding areas. To remedy this problem, Gov. Beshear announced a $50,000 Recreational Trails Program grant to Lawrence County Fiscal Court to add an accessible playground and splash park in Lawrence County Park.
The final stop of the day was in Pikeville, where he visited the Pikeville Medical Center and discussed health care and black lung with Rep. Angie Hatton of Whitesburg and Bobby McCool of Van Lear. They called for passage of legislation that would allow qualified physicians to perform exams for potential black lung cases.
Under current laws, only board-certified pulmonary specialists can perform exams. There are currently only four pulmonologists in the state that qualify, which forces miners either to go undiagnosed or to travel long distances for care.
Since taking office in December, Gov. Beshear has presented more than $6.6 million in grant funding to 11 communities across the state.
Local governments will use the funding to build a nature preserve at the Lotus community in Bullitt County, sexual assault and child abuse advocacy center in Paducah, rehabilitate the sewer system in Dawson Springs, construct a new fire station in Murray, make the Janice Mason Art Museum ADA accessible in Cadiz and improve parks in Dayton, Bromley, Covington and Wilder.