PIKEVILLE, Ky., July 18 -- Kentucky Power, a unit of American Electric Power, issued the following news release:
Kentucky Power has awarded $200,000 in grants to three local entities in an effort to spur economic development in Eastern Kentucky. The grants were awarded this month as part of the company's Kentucky Power Economic Advancement Program (KEAP) through which the company has committed to provide $1 million to stimulate economic development over the next five years.
"The implementation of KEAP stems from our agreement with the Kentucky Public Service Commission and other interveners to provide economic development assistance to our service area. It is a beneficial result of last year's stipulated agreement to transfer generating assets to Kentucky Power," said Brad Hall, external affairs manager for Kentucky Power and the company's economic development lead. "It is a competitive grant program that is meant to assist with the funding of economic development projects that promote the creation and retention of manufacturing and/or industrial investment and jobs," he said.
"The funds used in the program are those of AEP shareholders and not Kentucky Power ratepayers. It is provided by the company to these deserving organizations and will not be charged back to our customers," Hall explained. "They are solely meant to foster development in our area."
The KEAP program is specific to seven counties in Kentucky Power's service area - Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Johnson, Martin and Morgan. The grants must be used for programs and projects such as job retention, expansion surveys, wage and benefit surveys; retaining and attracting new industries, and conducting special studies.
The recipients of this year's grants are:
Big Sandy Area Development District: The development district will receive $8,000 for advanced economic training for three individuals from all three local area development district offices: Big Sandy ADD; FiveCo ADD and Gateway ADD. The training is part of the Certified Economic Developer Program through the University of Oklahoma.
City of Paintsville: The city was awarded $100,000 to further develop and enhance the Teays Branch economic development site at 120 Scott Perry Drive. The funds will be used primarily to facilitate the construction of adequate parking space to better market the site for potential development.
Louisa Chapter Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: The chapter was awarded $92,000 to assist in the development of an upstart business - a metal, roofing and building-supply company - based in Louisa that is expected to have a near-term benefit of 10-20 new, skilled labor positions.
All grant applications were reviewed by a committee that was comprised of five members - three Kentucky Power employees and two outside, economic development professionals. The outside professionals represented the Kentucky Association of Economic Development and Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet.
"We were pleased with the number of quality applications we received this year," said Hall. "It was difficult for the committee to finalize and make its recommendations, but in the end, the recipients are the ones judged to have the best, or perhaps most immediate, impact on area development. We encourage those who applied this year -- and others who did not -- to submit applications again next year and the years to follow. We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in the KEAP process and all those who submitted applications in hopes of furthering economic development."
"Kentucky Power is fully engaged in economic development in Eastern Kentucky," said Greg Pauley, president and chief operating officer of Kentucky Power. "We are doing all we can to assist in the development of our region and in adding meaningful, sustainable and good paying jobs. Through KEAP, and other programs, we are striving to be a partner for progress in the area we serve," he said. Kentucky Power is an operating unit of American Electric Power and provides electricity to approximately 171,000 customers in all or parts of 20 Eastern Kentucky counties. The company is headquartered in Frankfort and has major operating facilities in Ashland, Hazard, Louisa and Pikeville.
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