04-05-2012

Appalachian Regional Commission to give $100,000 toward rebuilding of West Liberty

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is giving $100,000 to help begin the process of rebuilding the city of West Liberty and Morgan County following the devastating March 2 tornadoes.

The combined ARC funding includes $50,000 from the ARC 2012 Distressed County funds and $50,000 from the ARC co-chair’s account. The funds will be used to hire an architect to develop a conceptual plan for the professional rebuilding of the city of West Liberty and Morgan County.

“One month ago, Kentuckians endured furious storm and tornado damage that was nothing short of a disaster,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release. “I saw destruction unlike anything I had seen before and talked with citizens who literally saw their homes, schools and churches disappear. Ensuring that the city of West Liberty and Morgan County have a strategic reconstruction plan in place will allow federal and state dollars to be used in the most efficient and effective way. I commend ARC for their assistance in this process and want to reassure the residents of Morgan County that we will continue to support them and use every resource possible to help restore their community.”

The goal of the redevelopment plan will be to incorporate the integrity of the stone fronts and remaining buildings’ architecture in rebuilding efforts, while encouraging innovative and energy efficient designs for the new structures. This plan will include designs for streets, traffic flow, land use, cultural aspects, tourism and the overall aesthetics of the city and county.

The F3 tornado that stuck West Liberty and Morgan County damaged or destroyed every city, county and state facility in the area. More than 400 homes were destroyed or suffered so much damage they were inhabitable. A total of 73 businesses and six churches were also demolished. Six people died in Morgan County, and hundreds more were displaced from their homes.

“ARC is pleased to commit $100,000 in funding for a development plan to rebuild West Liberty in wake of the devastating tornado damage it sustained in March,” ARC co-chair Earl Gohl said. “Congressman Hal Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear are to be commended for their leadership in marshaling needed resources to re-energize business activity and job creation in West Liberty following its heavy losses. ARC looks forward to working with local leaders in West Liberty in their planning efforts to restore social and economic normalcy there.”

Established by Congress in 1965, ARC partners with federal, state and local governments in efforts to support sustainable community and economic growth throughout Appalachia. Kentucky’s 54 most eastern and south-central counties qualify for ARC funding.