Beshear announces flat-land community development

Published 12:28 pm Monday, December 26, 2022

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During a press conference in Hindman Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled a vision for long-term recovery from this past summer’s historic flooding in eastern Kentucky that begins with a high-ground community in Knott County.

“We are thrilled to announce the first site of a regional approach to rebuilding,” Beshear said. “This is an approach that benefits whole communities. It’s a vision for the future that includes new homes, community centers, schools, upgraded infrastructure and the opportunity for future economic investments. And this will benefit not just one community, but multiple counties devastated by floods.”

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The initial building site is in the Talcum community of Knott County near the Perry County line. The state initially secured 75 acres from the family of Shawn and Tammy Adams, and can expand that to nearly 300 acres. That means the land not only provides a place to rebuild but is a place to grow for the future and attract new businesses.

It is expected to include small, medium and large home lots, senior apartments, park and recreation space and an elementary school, all surrounded by wooded areas. The plan is also to provide the infrastructure in a way that benefits the entire region, including relief and assistance to the City of Hazard and Perry County.

“This property means a lot to us, but what means more is that we are able to see it help so many. We are grateful to Gov. Beshear for his vision and proud that we can contribute to this project,” said Tammy Adams. “We even have an idea for the name of the community: ‘Olive Branch,’ a symbol of peace and recovery.”

This is the first of several locations in Eastern Kentucky that are being considered for rebuilding projects. The state is currently evaluating several sites in four counties: Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Perry, which combined account for 75% of the homes lost to flood damage.

Beshear also announced that the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund is committing $600,000 in funds to build eight new homes in partnership with the Housing Development Alliance and Homes, Inc. The fund is providing $75,000 per home for building materials.

The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund will also provide $200,000 in matching funds for a grant from the Eckstein Foundation. The total investment will be $800,000 to provide repairs for approximately 80 flood-damaged homes.