Two additional ‘higher ground’ communities announced in southeastern Kentucky, bringing total plans to seven

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration last week announced plans for “higher ground” developments in Floyd and Letcher counties, bringing the total to seven, as part of rebuilding efforts from floods in 2021 and 2022.

The 92-acre Grand View site off U.S. 23 in the Letcher County town of Jenkins will have room for 115 homes partially funded by the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund, in partnership with nonprofit builders FAHE Housing and HOMES Inc., according to a news release from the governor’s office.

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Additional land is available for future developments, playground and park space and walking trails that could eventually connect the community to downtown Jenkins.

The Johnson family donated the land in hopes of helping flood survivors and chose the name Grand View.

“What an honor and a proud moment for the Johnson brothers — Gregory, Garnie and George — to be able to contribute to Eastern Kentucky and Letcher County by donating this beautiful piece of land,” said Gregory Johnson. “We are thrilled that it will benefit the entire community and look forward to seeing the stability of safe housing provide hope and prosperity for the people of Jenkins.”

In Floyd County, the Wayland Volunteer Fire Department sold a four-acre site on Kentucky 1086  in Wayland that is build-ready with infrastructure in place. Up to a dozen homes can be built on the land, and building can start immediately, according to the governor’s office.

In partnership with the Appalachian Service Project, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund will provide up to $100,000 per home for building and land costs. Appalachia Service Project is a nonprofit committed to building and repairing homes for low-income families.

“There are many families who want to stay in Floyd County but are in need of a safe, affordable home,” said Walter Crouch, president and CEO of Appalachia Service Project. “We always work to keep impacted families on their own property, wherever it’s safe and feasible, to limit further needs or displacements, but we’re also very grateful for our partners who’ve helped us locate high-ground, build-ready properties, like this one in Wayland, where we can keep families in the community they love — and we have local folks ready to move in as soon as these new homes are completed.”

Beshear announced an additional $8 million to help Floyd County build 33 new homes and rehabilitate one vacant home in the New Hope neighborhood in Prestonsburg. The homes will be for Kentuckians directly affected by the 2021 and 2022 flood events that impacted Floyd County.

These funds are in addition to the $2 million Beshear announced to acquire the land for the homes. The funds come from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.

Beshear last December announced ambitions for creating new planned communities on “higher ground” outside the floodplain in the Kentucky mountains.

Previously announced high-ground communities, include The Cottages at Thompson Branch in Letcher County, Skyview in Perry County, Chestnut Ridge and Olive Branch in Knott County and New Hope Estates in Floyd County.