Gov. announces grant for interstate park in Pike Co.

Published 1:42 pm Thursday, July 7, 2022

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Gov. Andy Beshear announced over $2.3 million in investments for Pike County including  improvements for Breaks Interstate Park on Wednesday.

“All of these projects will make the lives of Pike County residents better,” said Beshear. “We are supporting communities all across the commonwealth, and today’s funding will help eastern Kentucky for generations to come.”

The governor awarded a $358,035 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to Breaks Interstate Park. The ARC funds will be used to enhance the recreational Ratliff Hole Area, in Pike County, which is less than 0.2 miles away from a future pedestrian suspension bridge. This project will provide a trail connection between the bridge and the Ratliff Hole Area and upgrade the existing hospitality and parking facilities. The facilities serve swimmers and kayakers who use the Russell Fork River and have not been updated since 1990.

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“The Breaks Interstate Park Commission has been engaged in an ongoing effort to expand our offerings on the Pike County portion of park property,” said Breaks Interstate Park Superintendent Austin Bradley. “To that end, we have secured over $1 million in funding for the construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Russell Fork River, which will serve as a spectacular new trailhead for the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail.”

The funding is administered by the  Kentucky Department for Local Government.

Breaks Interstate Park is a bi-state state park located partly in southeastern Kentucky and mostly in southwestern Virginia, in the Jefferson National Forest, at the northeastern terminus of Pine Mountain. It is jointly run by the two commonwealths.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Beshear announced his recommendation that the ARC approve a $780,444 grant to the center. If approved, the funding would provide educational equipment and materials for a nursing training complex at the Pikeville Medical Center. The grant would assure the complex has adequate classroom equipment and fixtures, science lab equipment and simulation lab equipment.

The ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.