KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear held a Team Kentucky updated on Thursday to discuss economic development, grants for riverports, transportation funding to support economic development, the groundbreaking of Norton Healthcare Goodwill Opportunity Campus, western Kentucky tornado recovery efforts and COVID-19.

Economic development momentum continues to grow.

Governor Beshear highlighted two economic development projects in the commonwealth that total over $106 million in investment and are expected to create over 100 jobs.

Governor Beshear joined officials in Shelby County and leaders from Wieland North America o Wednesday to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new $100 million copper and copper-alloy recycling facility that is expected to create up to 75 jobs for local residents with additional job creation planned in the future. On Thursday, Beshear announced HHO Carbon Clean Systems LLC will locate its first Kentucky operation in McCracken County with a $6.65 million investment with plans to create 35 full-time jobs in the coming years.

“Just look at where we are. We set the lowest unemployment rate in Kentucky’s history in back-to-back months. We have the fewest Kentuckians on unemployment in the last 21 years,” said Gov. Beshear. “Yes, our present is challenging with everything we are facing, from a continued pandemic, to inflation, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but our tomorrow is so exciting.”

Opportunity Campus groundbreaking

Governor Beshear joined state and local officials as well as leaders of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky and Norton Healthcare to break ground on a $100 million Opportunity Campus for West Louisville. Residents of West Louisville will have access to career and social services run by Goodwill Industries. Norton Healthcare will be building a $70 million comprehensive health care center, which will be the first hospital in the community in more than 100 years.

The project is expected to create more than 200 jobs in West Louisville with an average annual wage of $59,000. Another 200 jobs will be created during the building phase. The campus also expects to serve 50,000 people every year with programs and services.

Infrastructure investments

Governor Beshear announced $499,000 in grants for eight projects at four of Kentucky’s riverports, including Eddyville, Hickman, Owensboro and Paducah. These grants will help riverport authority meet a range of needs for both capacity and operations.

Governor Beshear also announced more than $1.8 million in discretionary transportation funding to help four local governments make roadway repairs and improvements that will promote local economic development. In the Tri-State, this includes improving local roadways in Ohio County.

Additional SAFE Funds for tornado recovery

Governor Beshear announced a seventh round of awards from the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies fund (SAFE). The assistance announced on Thursday will go to two eligible western Kentucky counties to help with the cost of restoration and recovery from the December 2021 tornadoes.

The nearly $800,000 in funding will cover expenses for more than $134,000 of FEMA-ineligible debris removal in Taylor County and more than $655,000 for the purchase of heavy equipment to facilitate debris removal in Hopkins County.

COVID-19

Beshear said the state is experiencing a slight plateau in COVID-19 cases, with 9,579 cases announced from June 21 through June 27.

According to the governor, the positivity rate is also experiencing a plateau at 13.36% on June 26. Overall hospitalizations in Kentucky and the number of patients in the ICU and on a ventilator have increased, however the governor said this increase is not expected to continue.

Team Kentucky All-Stars

Governor Beshear attended the annual Shape America Conference on Monday where he presented an award named after his aunt, Mary Ann Miller.

The governor recognized the Mary Ann Miller Thrive Award winners, the Thompson Scholars Program and the program’s namesake, the president of Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education Dr. Aaron Thomspon, as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.

“My aunt was a fierce and tireless champion for Kentucky’s young people, particularly for making sure they had access to quality education and health care,” said Gov. Beshear. “I know she would have been proud to see the Thompson Scholars Program and Dr. Aaron Thompson awarded for their contributions to our commonwealth and our students.”

The Thompson Scholars Program offers Pre-K through grade 12 students nutritious meals, tutoring instruction in leadership development, communication skills, local and cultural history, STEAM programming, college prep, field trips and civic engagement. Thompson Scholars is now serving around 100 students.