MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The city of Berea and the Central Kentucky Regional Airport is set to receive a major infrastructure investment to improve its water and sewer system.
Governor Beshear announced Friday he recommended the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) approve a grant for a more than $1 million project for the airport.
He ceremoniously presented local officials with the $1,024,800 check, an indicator that he's confident the money will be awarded.
"We've got a really good record on the recommendations we make to the ARC. So today, we even brought the check," said Beshear. "We know this is going to happen. We want to celebrate with you today."
ARC uses Congressionally appropriated funds to invest in the Region's economic and community development through grants. In Fiscal Year 2021, Congress appropriated a record $180 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Mayor of Berea Bruce Fraley couldn't have been more pleased. He knows how dire the need is for an infrastructure boost at the airport.
"It's nice to see this project going from a decade of planning and hoping for airport modernization, to getting it done," said Fraley.
The project will extend Berea's wastewater collection and treatment services to the airport. It will boost water and sewer access and improve fire protection and safety.
Local officials say is beyond overdue. Especially with new investments and programming from Eastern Kentucky University. They say water and sewer systems at the airport cannot support the anticipated future needs.
The project includes the construction of 12,000 linear feet of 4-inch sewer lines, two new manholes, and 12,000 linear feet of 8-inch water lines. The result will be a substantial increase in water capacity as well as an improvement in fire protection for the facility.
"The project is sorely needed. And this airport and this region are primed for incredible growth. This infrastructure had to happen. The increase in people using this airport daily, that's a great sign. And it's placing some significant strain on the existing water structure, the septic and water systems currently in use are outdated and quickly nearing capacity, we're not gonna let that happen," said Beshear.
Governor Beshear has been hitting infrastructure investment hard across the state.
His office says the administration has invested more than $87 million for around 200 projects to update infrastructure so far.
"Investment in infrastructure is going to be at an all-time high in Kentucky and it's because of bipartisanship. At the end of the last general assembly, we all came together and ultimately came with a plan for $1.2 billion of federal funds more than $700 million of which are going into infrastructure. That's $250 million of water and sewer projects all across Kentucky," said Beshear.