Flex-E-Grant Recipients and Projects | December 2010

Leadership Academy Phase 2
County: Bell
Fiscal Agent: London District Association
Total Expended: $11,250
Grant Expended: $9,000
Match Expended: $2,250

Description: This project continued the development of a Leadership Academy for African-Americans in Bell County. The Academy focused on local governing processes and public service and consisted of 6 sessions, including a trip to the State House of Representatives in Frankfort. The program served 22 participants, each of whom paid a $15 fee. The class undertook a project to enhance a city park. With the help of seven other community members, they constructed picnic tables and installed grills in the park. The project was originally to build a gazebo, but issues with the physical labor required for this shifted the focus.

Community Engagement Through the Arts
County: Breathitt
Fiscal Agent: Breathitt County Action Team
Total Expended: $12,500
Grant Expended: $10,000
Match Expended: $2,500

Description: The goal of this project was to engage the community in the creation and production of a theatre piece based on the history and heritage of Breathitt County. Outside consultants experienced in community-based theatre assisted with identifying themes, format, style, and content for the production. The lead consultants were Octavia Sexton and Judy Sizemore, who are veteran theatre and literary artists-in-residence on the Kentucky Arts Council juried artist roster and certified as community scholars and community scholar facilitators by the Kentucky Folklife Program. They presented programs in six schools. The Breathitt County Action Team also held 8 community meetings to engage community members in the project. The group held 5 community gatherings for cast calls, crew calls, and 2 sessions to bring community musicians on board. More than 50 people attended these meetings. A subcommittee finalized a script that will be used for a production in October 2011.

Olive Hill Sesquicentennial Celebration
County: Carter
Fiscal Agent: Olive Hill Historical Society
Total Expended: $20,644.80
Grant Expended: $8,990.80
Match Expended: $11,654

Description: In 2011, Olive Hill celebrated its sesquicentennial. To mark this historical event the Olive Hill Historical Society, along with partnering organizations the Olive Hill Main Street Renaissance Committee and the Carter County Public Library, hosted a festival of events celebrating the community’s heritage and showcasing local artisans. Local merchants, civic organizations, churches, community leaders and interested citizens took part. From January-July, 14 planning meetings took place, involving 23 organizations and 51 individuals. The group held 31 different events, including decoration contests and mural painting classes, an opening dinner and ceremony, an outdoor drama, a heritage art show, a printed magazine and video, a car show, horse ride, quilt show and classes, genealogy fair, parade, fireworks, pageant and other events. Several events have received support to take place annually Also, the Olive Hill Council for Planning and Restoration is partnering with Morehead State University, Ashland Community Technical College and Carter Caves State Resort Park in promoting economic development and tourism. A current project is to interconnect the newly developed trails and equine center at Carter Caves State Resort Park to the Olive Hill Shrine Park and the Olive Hill Depot by utilizing existing trails and the rails to trails program.

Local Products Outlet
County: Elliott
Fiscal Agent: Gateway Resource Conservation and Development
Total Expended: $12,996.40
Grant Expended: $10,000
Match Expended: $2,996.40

Description: Elliott County artists and other producers had no local outlet for their products other than their homes, so the County Extension Office partnered with folk artists, quilters, crafters, musicians, fiber artists and local food producers to create an outlet. Twelve members of the Elliott County Heritage Tourism Council traveled to 3 different museums and outlets to research. The Laurel Gorge Cultural Center now serves as an artist outlet. Ten local producers attended workshops on marketing and selling their works. Fifteen artists were grandfathered into the outlet as founding members and will jury future artists. These members are now exhibiting their works at the outlet and will serve as volunteers to keep the outlet open. The artists will continue to offer marketing workshops, display design workshops, web site design workshops and brochure design workshops to future exhibitors.

Estill Micro-Venture Fund
County: Estill
Fiscal Agent: Estill County 21st Century
Total Expended: $12,940
Grant Expended: $10,000
Match Expended: $2,940

Description: As a direct product of two previous Flex-E projects, EC2 – Planning 2day for Estill County’s 2morrow and Leadership Estill County, the Estill Micro-Venture Fund project produced a plan for the community to assess the viability and cost feasibility of a locally-based micro-finance system that could be grown over time to serve all of Eastern Kentucky. The project was directed by Dr. Zek Eser, an Eastern Kentucky University finance professor with extensive prior professional experience as a Wall Street investment banker. The Estill Micro-Venture Fund report explained how such a fund would have to be structured as a mutual fund partnership, explored the diversity of the 30-40 businesses that would be required for the initial deal pool, how investments would have to be done as loans to make the fund viable, how investments would have to span from 3 to 7 years, and explored the challenges and costs related to establishing such a fund.

Black Bear Mania in the Mountains
County: Harlan
Fiscal Agent: Cumberland Tourist Commission
Original Budget: $12,500
Grant Amount: $10,000
Match Amount: $2,500

Description: As the City of Cumberland is the Black Bear Capitol of Kentucky, the Tourist Commission proposed a local public art project that incorporates black bear statues of varying shapes and sizes. Local artists and Harlan County Art Classes will paint the bears with different themes. A committee consisting of community leaders will establish criteria for the art. The committee will be formed out of a public meeting attended by around 50 people. The committee will select seven artists or groups of artists to decorate each statue. Larry May, who worked on the Horse Mania project in Lexington, Kentucky, will serve as a consultant to the project. The bears will be displayed throughout the Tri-City area.

Grow a Gardener

County: Harlan
Fiscal Agent: Pine Mountain Settlement School
Total Expended: $6,498.04
Grant Expended: $4,302.27
Match Expended: $2,190.77

Description: The goal of this project was to build the capacity of local students and community members by providing greater knowledge about sustainable agriculture and providing communal projects around gardening. This project built upon Pine Mountain Settlement School’s other community agriculture projects: Grow Appalachia, Grow Harlan County, and the People’s Garden. Seven members of the community attended an Organic Growers School Conference. The program involved 20 school children in starting seeds and caring for plants and attending weekly gardening workshops. These students produced a digital story about local food. The group held 3 community meetings to organize a Farmers Market, involving around 25 community members. Six vendors sold food during the first Farmers Market. The group also held 3 seed swap events with a total of 58 community members attending. A Local Foods Celebration was also held and included a food preservation workshop. The event hosted 9 people for the workshop and 21 people for the community potluck. A Community Agriculture web site was also created and can be viewed at www.growpinemountain.com. By the end of the project, 52 pounds of early season produce had been donated through the school’s Family Resource Center. This continued into the summer. The Farmers Market will continue in the community, supported by the vendors and farmers. Through the other programs, the Seed Swap and Local Foods Potlucks will also continue.

Feasibility Study of the Bonnieville Area 

County: Hart
Fiscal Agent: Bonnieville City Council
Total Expended: $35,048
Grant Expended: $10,000
Match Expended: $25,048

Description: The Bonnieville Opportunity Advancement Zone is the result of a previous Flex-E-Grant which funded a strategic plan for the community. Coming out of that strategic plan, an Image Committee worked toward beautifying the town. The group wanted to move ahead with several economic development projects for which they needed to assess data that will be critical to new and existing businesses. They hired the Barren River Area Development District to conduct a feasibility study that will provide statistical information and analytical data for economic development. The process involved 30 open meetings from January through June, with 5 specific community forums for sharing information and ideas. Over the 5 meetings, 94 community members discussed information being compiled in the study and potential business development ideas. The information collected in the study is being used to strategize and prioritize upcoming projects in the community.

Enhancing the Happy Top Trail

County: Lee
Fiscal Agent: Lee County Fiscal Court
Total Expended: $11,082.27
Grant Expended: $5,073.27
Match Expended: $6,009
Description: The Happy Top Trail is a 1.5-mile track that is used by approximately 30 people per day for walking and exercise. This project improved trail accessibility and appeal by adding 10 lights, 11 native trees, shrubs and flowers, accent plants, birdhouses and bat boxes and a bee hive. The lights will increase the use of the trail by people who work late but need and want to exercise. As of the end of the project period, records showed 5 additional people using the trail for exercise. The biology teacher at the high school had been notified that the site will be good for observing native plants. Due to weather, the group had to move a celebration originally set for June until later in the year.

Feasibility Study for Monument Park
County: Letcher
Fiscal Agent: Letcher County Fiscal Court
Amount Expended: $13,619
Grant Expended: $9,500
Match Amount: $4,119

Description: This project was identified during community meetings conducted by Robert Donnan, on “Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Tourism Economy,” funded by a previous Flex-E-Grant. The funds covered a consultant to design a site for a monument park on HWY 15. Letcher County Tourism adopted the strategic plan for the final design of the site, which will require creating a flat space of about 2.5 acres with trails and access to an overlook area. Letcher County students and the historical society researched documentation of the two battles of Whitesburg, the location of the confederate battlefields, CSA Hospital, and the camp site of Colonel Ben E. Caudill, which will qualify for the vetting process for historical markers. The group hosted community meetings in a variety of venues with a total of 135 people attending. The historical society has begun fundraising for the placement of statues and monuments in the park, having raised more than $5,000 from approximately 100 individuals in the area.

Fleming-Neon Economic Development Strategic Plan
County: Letcher
Fiscal Agent: Neon City Council
Total Expended: $8,112.57
Grant Expended: $4.023.14
Match Expended: $4,089.43

Description: For this project, Lori Gargovich from the University of Kentucky facilitated two community forums, resulting in a strategic plan that focused on beautification and business growth. A total of 38 individuals attended the meetings. As a result of the plan, 25 people undertook a beautification project to construct 10 large flower boxes that were placed in front of businesses and office buildings. The group will continue with activities around the plan and will encourage community members to join the Economic Development Committee to organize efforts.

Jenkins River Clean Up Initiative
County: Letcher
Fiscal Agent: Headwaters, Inc.
Total Expended: $7,400
Grant Expended: $6,000
Match Expended: $2,125

Description: This project build the capacity of Headwaters and the community of Jenkins to address water quality issued directly affecting citizens of Letcher County. The group held two meetings to design schedules for educational sessions and cleanups. The activities the followed included a cleanup event, and 6 days of educational outreach with Jenkins Middle and High School students. Headwaters also undertook a series of strategic planning meetings with the assistance of Mayes and Wilson Associates Consulting and held a water sampler training for regional volunteers. This work involved 5 employees of the school system, 20 school students in the 3-mile long cleanup, more than 250 students in educational activities, and the training of 10 new volunteers for water sampling.

Strategic Action for Development

County: Magoffin
Fiscal Agent: Magoffin County Health Department
Total Expended: $24,876.04
Grant Expended: $8,981.04
Match Expended: $15,895

Description: This project continued to build capacity around leadership in the South Magoffin area. Community residents began implementation of a Strategic Plan with the guidance of a Strategic Plan Facilitator to provide leadership in the accomplishment of short-term goals and to begin work on long-term goals. Residents designed and participated in regular meetings and other community activities, and took part in fundraising. The volunteers accomplished the following; a petition for broadband service in the area; communication with AT&T for improved cell service in the area; assessment and planning for a community center in an old school building; a clean up day involving 15 people; planning for a park and picnic area; erection of welcome signs on four sites; fundraising and open house for the Volunteer Fire Department; a monthly jamboree featuring local talent; and planning for a Community Day; work toward increasing communication capabilities in the area (cell service, broadband, etc.), planning for a community center, and planning for a park and picnic area. Community meetings were attended by 30-40 members. Residents participating in activities ranged from 10 to 125.

Screen and Clean
County: Magoffin
Fiscal Agent: Magoffin County Health Department
Total Expended: $33,671
Grant Expended: $9,989
Match Expended: $23,682

Description: The Screen and Clean Project sought to establish a norm for youth to be drug screened and found clean in Magoffin County. Students were screened at school by the Drug Screening Coordinator, at the School Health Clinic by the RN, at the Drug Free Communities office by Magoffin County Health Department staff, and by parents/caretakers at home. Drug screen kits were provided to all parents to be utilized for the initial screen and to be available as a deterrent for youth drug use/abuse. Other activities included media blitzes; t-shirts and amenities provided to students to show their pride in being clean; 15 videos and 20 PSAs that were run on local stations, presentations, and written pieces done by students to promote the program; and video projects completed by teens, local officials and other community members. 60 community groups partnered to carry out this program. 480 youth were screened during the grant cycle and those who were found clean received a Kool 2 B Clean t-shirt.

Means Community Garden Project 
County: Menifee
Fiscal Agent: Project Worth
Original Budget: $7,500
Grant Amount: $6,000
Match Amount: $1,500

Description: This project will target ten families who need training and supervision in the area of raising and planting vegetable seed to produce plants to use in the family garden. The participating families will build a greenhouse then put in flats for planting, sow seed and water plants. They will receive training in bi-monthly meetings and create work plans for their garden. They will also take classes on healthy cooking and on canning fresh vegetables.

Tourism Plan and Mini-grants Program 
County: Menifee
Fiscal Agent: City of Frenchburg
Total Expended: $15,096.98
Grant Expended: $9,156.98
Match Expended: $5,940

Description: This project sought to improve the quality of life in Menifee County through developing a plan to promote tourism. The planning group solicited ideas and usable solutions to increase leadership capacity. They held 7 community meetings with 128 people attending. Based on community participation in these meeting and the expression of community members, they decided to focus their tourism efforts on Broke Leg Falls, a local park featuring a waterfall. They held 7 workdays at Broke Leg Falls with 82 workers taking on an improvement project for the park, including cleanup and clearing of brush and painting and restoration of picnic tables and facilities. The group plans to continue their work with Broke Leg Falls, hoping to make it a more desirable tourist destination.

Community Arts Enrichment 
County: Monroe
Fiscal Agent: Monroe County Board of Education
Total Expended: $38,275.84
Grant Expended: $10,000
Match Expended: $28,275.84

Description: This project brought the arts into the spotlight in Monroe County, as it provided opportunities for Monroe County youth and adults to develop their artistic skills and talents. A drama camp served 50 students in grades K-8 and involved 25 youth volunteers and 60 community patrons for ache showcase of the groups. The painting classes served 15 community members and 120 people attended the art show. The group also held a Murder Mystery Weekend with 30 students and adult volunteers and around 120 community patrons. Approximately 40 community volunteers also cleaned, painted and installed new ceiling tiles in the high school auditorium.

Tile Mosaic in West Liberty 

County: Morgan
Fiscal Agent: Morgan County Board of Education
Original Budget: $14,000
Grant Amount: $10,000
Match Amount: $4,000

Description: The purpose of this project is to use public art and creativity as tools for social awareness, community development, and to increase community capacity in Morgan County. A tile mosaic mural, created by students from the county schools, will replace a boring concrete parking lot retaining wall in the center of West Liberty. The project will be guided by a community-based committee and will use students to do the design and implementation of installing the tiles.

Owsley County Heritage and Tourism Project 

County: Owsley
Fiscal Agent: Owsley County Action Team
Total Expended: $9.022.15
Grant Expended: $6,828.37
Match Expended: $2,193.78 

Description: The Owsley County Tourism and Heritage Development Project long-term goal is to develop a dedicated Tourism and Heritage infrastructure that will increase tourism to Owsley County and the region. This project facilitated the Historic Preservation and Restoration of the Noble Pioneer Museum and the development of a website about Owsley County heritage and tourism. The group also worked to increase the capacity of the local crafters cooperative, Mountain Designs and Crafts. During the course of the work, 13 volunteers from the Historical Society donated 116 hours to helping plan for revitalization of the Pioneer Museum. The Historical Society developed a site purpose plan for the Noble’s Pioneer Museum. Twenty-six members of the Mountain Designs and Crafts Cooperative learned about sustaining an arts and crafts coop. The director of the coop and three crafters traveled to Asheville, NC, to learn about that successful approach. The group developed a web site that is available at http://members.prtcnet.org/mtndesign.

Community Arts Center 
County: Perry
Fiscal Agent: Community Foundation of Hazard and Perry County
Total Expended: $14,824.60
Grant Expended: $10,000
Match Expended: $4,824.60

Description: This project is the continuation of an effort that began in 2009 to develop a community arts center in downtown Hazard. The project included a Community Arts Committee comprised of 23 Perry County citizens that met 8 times over the 6-month project period. Twelve of the committee members attended a retreat to develop options and next steps for using arts as a tool for economic development, tourism and education. The group identified 13 indicators related to the project and identified 10 funding sources and 14 community partners to continue the work. The group completed a Phase I assessment of the properties identified for the Community Arts Center. The Community Arts Committee will continue to work on this project as it enters the funding stage.

Entrepreneurial Education for Business Excellence 

County: Powell
Fiscal Agent: Powell County Industrial Board
Total Expended: $9,555.75
Grant Expended: $6,820.13
Match Expended: $2,735.62

Description: Building community capacity through entrepreneurial support programs is the goal of this project. Because of the high unemployment levels, a distressed economy, and many businesses in the region going out of business, the grantee wants to take action to help the county and region create a stronger business climate. The project will provide entrepreneurial education for folks in Powell, Estill, and Lee Counties that want to start a business, and/or to provide educational support for existing entrepreneurs. Activities will include a local awareness campaign and courses on entrepreneurship, financial management, customer services, sales, marketing and advertising. Each course will be six-weeks long.

Rockcastle Health and Recreation Complex 
County: Rockcastle
Fiscal Agent: Rockcastle Fiscal Court
Total Expended: $8,500
Grant Expended: $2,400
Match Expended: $10,900

Description: Rockcastle County conducted a Recreational Complex Feasibility Study. A recreation task force composed of 15 community volunteers met monthly to plan and discuss the complex, narrowing down potential sites from 15 to 4. A survey of wellness and recreation needs garnered responses from 604 citizens. The study was conducted by MSE of Kentucky.

Bandstand / Walking Bridge in City Park 

County: Wolfe
Fiscal Agent: Wolfe County Public Library
Total Expended: $16,975.27
Grant Expended: $9,531.27
Match Amount: $7,444

Description: Through this project, a group of around 50 volunteers will build a large bandstand, with electricity and sound system on the lot. They will also construct an arched bridge across the creek to connect it with the Park. Events held in the park will be moved to this location. These activities include: 12 events of Music the Park; the High School’s Picnic in the park that is held twice per year and funds the Drama Club; July 4th activities; Veteran’s Day activities; and Halloween activities. The site will also be used as an outdoor classroom by the 4-H Club and Girl and Boy Scouts, among other events.