Leitchfield, Grayson County, and state officials gathered together on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the award of nearly $45,000 to improve infrastructure and boost local industry.
According to state Rep. Samara Heavrin, Leitchfield has been awarded Regional Development Agency Assistance Program (RDAAP) funding to install a turning lane that will increase safety and mobility of the current infrastructure in place for large trucks coming through the area on Judge Kenneth H. Goff Drive, provide erosion control, and extend a water line by around 1,700 feet in the area.
“Together, all of these additions will help with economic development opportunities in the Judge Kenneth H. Goff Industrial Park,” Heavrin said in an email.
Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry, who attended Thursday’s event, said the city is thankful for the funding, which was originally allocated to remodel the Centre on Main before officials decided to place that project on hold.
“We want to thank the state for the grant money,” Embry said.
Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson, also in attendance Thursday, said this project has been in the works for some time and is part of an effort to expand the county’s infrastructure to hopefully recruit more industry to the area.
Grayson County Industrial Development Director Brenda Sims said the funding will awarded on a reimbursement basis as the work is completed and will total $44,994.
Heavrin said that, during the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly session, House Bill 114 created a framework for distribution and oversight to ensure RDAAP funds, which are administered by the Department of Local Government and secured by local legislators.
RDAAP funds are used for but are not limited to preparing or acquiring land for industrial sites, as well as building and upgrading utility infrastructure.
According to Heavrin, this further prepares communities to be successful and can create a multitude of jobs.
“Because these funds can be used as a match, it makes grants more accessible for communities like Leitchfield,” she said. “This provides additional opportunities to leverage funds available at the federal and state level for critical infrastructure projects; projects that create immediate jobs and opportunities for targeted business growth.”
House Bill 114 (HB114) was originally signed into law in the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly. It has increased economic development efforts for the county and regional area that purchases power from the Tennessee Valley Authority, according to Heavrin.
As a publicly-owned utility created by the federal government, the Tennessee Valley Authority is exempt from taxation, but instead makes payments to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
HB114 adjusted the TVA in-lieu-of-tax payment formula to ensure more dollars from utility payments stay in this region for economic development needs, which established these funds as the RDAAP program, Heavrin said.