SOMERSET, KY — Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., has been awarded $1,200,000 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to further develop The Kentucky Wildlands regional tourism marketing initiative in 41 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. This award is part of a recently announced $21 million package supporting 21 projects serving 211 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. POWER targets federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.
“I commend Eastern Kentucky PRIDE for innovating and collaborating to grow opportunities for people in their own community and neighboring communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Partners like Eastern Kentucky PRIDE are integral to making our POWER projects come to life, and I look forward to seeing the ways our Appalachian Region continues to grow, thanks to the impact of their work.”
“We are grateful to the ARC for this investment in the people and economy of southern and eastern Kentucky,” said Tammie Nazario, PRIDE President and CEO. “For 25 years now, PRIDE has partnered with communities to clean up solid waste and water quality problems, and now we are unified in marketing our great outdoors and deep heritage as a regional tourist destination ― The Kentucky Wildlands. The ARC funds will allow us to promote this regional brand and support communities in building their tourism economies.”
Since POWER launched in 2015, ARC has invested nearly $316.6 million in 393 projects across 358 coal-impacted counties. The nearly $73 million awarded in 2021 is projected to create/retain over 10,383 jobs and attract nearly $527.3 million in leveraged private investments.
The Kentucky Wildlands is a regional tourism marketing initiative that showcases the region’s majestic natural beauty and rich heritage with the goal of driving economic development. Components of the initiative include a media campaign, hospitality education, itinerary development and entrepreneur training. The initiative was launched by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., which is a nonprofit organization, with grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Economic Development Administration.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.