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Gov. Beshear provides Team Kentucky update

In News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, Gov. Andy Beshear provided an update on economic development; transportation funding for local streets and roads; new Recovery Ready Communities; an initiative to help released inmates find jobs; voting for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for this year’s America’s Transportation Awards; high-ground communities; and sports betting. The Governor also named the winners of the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Awards as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

Economic Development

The Governor recently joined officials with Pratt Industries in Henderson to officially open the company’s new $500 million paper mill and box factory, which will create over 320 well-paying jobs across two facilities and serves as the largest investment in the region in more than 25 years.

Gov. Beshear also joined local officials and executives from AESC to help place the last piece of structural steel at its 1.6 million-square-foot, $2 billion gigafactory in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The state-of-the-art 30-gigawatt hour plant will create 2,000 new, skilled jobs in the region, producing battery cells and modules to power next-generation electric vehicles for multiple global automotive manufacturers.

The Governor highlighted further momentum within Kentucky’s agritech sector as he congratulated 80 Acres Farms on the grand opening of the company’s new vertical farming facility in Boone County, which will create 125 well-paying jobs with an investment of up to $95 million.

Gov. Beshear also highlighted another quality project in Kentucky’s signature bourbon and spirits industry taking place in Anderson County. AATW, an owner and operator in the bourbon sector, is investing $11.8 million to build nine rickhouses that will create 10 full-time jobs by the end of the project.

The Governor highlighted continued growth in the commonwealth’s expansive manufacturing industry with Safran Landing Systems Kentucky announcing an expansion of its Boone County facility, creating 92 well-paying jobs.

Gov. Beshear also highlighted further growth and momentum within Kentucky’s tourism industry as Newport Hotel Associates, a joint venture partnership between North American Properties, Stormont Hospitality Group and High Street Real Estate Partners, plans to locate a new $133.6 million Margaritaville Hotel Resort at Newport on the Levee in Campbell County. This project is expected to create 282 jobs, 187 full-time and 95 part-time, and provide an economic boost to the region.

Road Improvements

Gov. Beshear announced he approved over $6.1 million in discretionary funding for eight cities and 34 counties across Kentucky that asked for help improving local streets and roads. The discretionary funding is administered through the Department of Rural and Municipal Aid at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Recovery Ready Communities

The Governor announced that the Northern Kentucky region, representing Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, and Perry and Woodford counties, have been designated as Recovery Ready Communities for their commitment to providing residents with access to addiction treatment and recovery support and removing barriers to the workforce. These counties make up the latest round to be approved for certification since the administration announced Boyle County as the first Recovery Ready Community in May.

Jobs on Day One

Furthering his commitment to boost workforce participation and create a safer Kentucky, Gov. Beshear joined members of the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council today to launch the Jobs on Day One initiative, which aims to help released inmates have a job when they leave incarceration.

Transportation Team Award

Last month, the Governor announced that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet won an award in the Operations Excellence category as part of the annual America’s Transportation Awards for their response in Mayfield following the 2021 tornadoes.

Today, Gov. Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to visit to select and vote for the KYTC project. Two winners will be announced in November, and the Grand Prize and People’s Choice Award winners will receive $10,000 each toward their preferred scholarship or charity.

High-Ground Communities

As part of ongoing efforts to rebuild from the devastating 2022 flooding in Eastern Kentucky, Gov. Beshear provided details on previously announced high-ground communities, including The Cottages at Thompson Branch, Skyview, Chestnut Ridge, Olive Branch and a community in Floyd County.

Funds from the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief funds will partially fund homes in new high-ground communities, as well as nearly $300 million in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds. The state is not allowed under federal law to use those dollars, or other funding sources until the environmental review of the sites is completed and approved by the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. Environmental assessments on all sites have been initiated and are in various stages of completion.

Key updates include that The Cottages at Thompson Branch property has had its environmental assessment completed and electric poles and lines are currently being installed. Skyview is currently pending its environmental assessment, but once completed the state is ready to move quickly. At Chestnut Ridge designs for roadwork and utility placement are underway. At Olive Branch, there is current infrastructure work ongoing including upgrading a water treatment facility that will improve service to additional parts of the county.

Sports Betting

Two weeks after opening in-person sports wagering and one week prior to the launch of mobile wagering, Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on the success of the retail launch and what they can expect next. On Thursday, Sept. 28, Kentuckians can begin placing wagers on their mobile phones. To see the full release, click here.

Team Kentucky All-Stars

Last week, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman helped recognize educators from across the commonwealth during the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Ceremony. Today, Gov. Beshear named the three winners as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The winners include:

  • High School Teacher of the Year: Kumar Rashad of Louisville’s Breckinridge Metropolitan High School.
  • Elementary School Teacher of the Year: Donnie Wilkerson from Jamestown Elementary in Russell County.
  • Middle School Teacher of the Year and overall 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year: Kevin Dailey from Ballyshannon Middle School in Boone County.

“All three of these teachers are making a difference each and every day for the students they serve, the communities they live in and for all of Kentucky. That is why they are this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars,” said Gov. Beshear. “These educators are changing lives. They are the reason I continue to advocate for our teachers, school administrators and schools.”