This story originally appeared in the Feb. 17 issue of the Community Voice. For your own subscription, call 270-384-9454.
CAMPBELLSVILLE – Gov. Andy Beshear visited the region last week to announce almost $3 million in water project grants to four counties, including Adair. Beshear also presented ceremonial checks for several transportation projects.
Judge Executive Gale Cowan, magistrate Chris Reeder and Columbia-Adair Util- ity District manager Lenny Stone were on hand for the announcement, which was held at the old courthouse in
Campbellsville Friday. The Columbia-Adair Utility District is receiving $705,214 to con- struct a new waterline along KY. 551 that will connect two existing waterlines on each side of the Green River. A local pump station and pressure-reducing valve also will be replaced, increasing water pressure for the Knifley area.
The project is being funded by $250 mil- lion appropriated by the General Assembly through the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. The funds were approved through a bipartisan agreement to provide clean drinking water and waste- water grants across Kentucky.
Beshear also presented a ceremonial check for $147,600 in Kentucky Transportation Cabinet funds that will be used to blacktop Richard Hollow Road.
“Early in my administration I asked our engineers to find roadways across Kentucky most in need of fixing. I didn’t care, D, R, Red, Blue, any of that. What are the areas that need fixing the most? Because I spend every day talking about logistics to companies that want to move into Kentucky and I am pretty proud of how we do it. But the most import- ant cargo we put in our cars are our kids, our family,” Beshear said as he presented the Adair County check.
Cowan and Reeder voiced their appreciation for the funding, with Reeder noting that there are 30 households on the road being improved. Beshear was returning to Taylor County or the first time since n earlier visit following the devastating destruction of two tornadic episodes that hit the county.
“Your resilience, your resolve, the heart hat you showed, ow you opened your homes to other people in need, was something really special,” he said of Taylor County residents in attendance. “You showed the very best of us to the entire world.”
Beshear went on to talk about funding for water projects and said he is excited about the Cleaner Water Pro- ram because it does the right thing and “it was created in the right way.”
He called clean drinking water a basic human right and said some households across Kentucky are getting clean water for the first time. Another project funded water for a school that has closed on occasion because the cafeteria did not have access to safe water.
“This program was also created in the right way. Something that some of us thought wasn’t possible in Frankfort and Washington D.C. and that is bipartisan agreement. It happened at the end of the last session of the General Assembly, and we sat down with the leadership in the House and the Senate… and talked over how to appropriate over $1 billion, all to help our people.”
Beshear also summarized millions of dollars in new investment with companies choosing Kentucky for new and expanded operations. He said it is also important that communities not just be shovel ready, but build ready, to recruit industry, and that includes access to an abundance of safe water supply.
“Last year, even in the midst of all this, we shattered every economic development record in the books, and it wasn’t even close,” he said. Every year they strive to improve private sector investment by $5 to $7 billion annually, but last year that number topped $11.2 billion.
“Some of the biggest, most sophisticated companies in the world are picking us for their biggest projects ever,” Beshear said. “Over and over, people are picking us.”
And people are noticing, the governor said. “Since 2007, 15 years, they have ranked us either negative or, a couple years ago, they upgraded us to stable. For the first time in 15 years, last week S&P Global Ratings upgraded our economic out- look to positive,” he said.
Beshear said he has asked officials with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to meet with county leaders and area development districts to make sure they are aware of any locations available or opportunities for economic growth across the commonwealth. Judge Cowan spoke with Beshear following the meeting about the Green River Commerce Park in Adair County and he asked several questions about details of the park .
By Sharon Burton