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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million to Improve Wastewater Infrastructure to Support Critical Business Growth in McCreary County, Kentucky Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.8 million grant to the McCreary County Water District of Whitley City, Kentucky, to upgrade existing sewer infrastructure to accommodate business growth, including the expansion of a local manufacturer. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with nearly $445,000 in other federal investment, create 150 jobs, and generate $1 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is working tirelessly to champion areas around the country that have been adversely impacted by the downturn of the coal industry, such as in McCreary county,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will support the growth of a local manufacturer in an Opportunity Zone and attract new business ventures to the region.”

“EDA encourages investment in Opportunity Zones to not only enhance return on investment for business interests, but also to encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed communities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The improved wastewater treatment infrastructure, coupled with the area’s Opportunity Zones, will grow and diversify the local economy.”

“It’s exciting to see 150 new jobs on the way to McCreary County,” said Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05), who helped secure the federal funding for this grant opportunity. “Job creation is dependent upon the resources and infrastructure we have in each county, and this EDA grant will provide a much-needed upgrade to the local sewer system to support business growth for these new jobs.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Lake Cumberland Area Development District (LCADD). EDA funds LCADD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

The funding announced today goes to one of Kentucky’s 144 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources page here.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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