The economic development director in an eastern Kentucky community is seeing big potential benefits to a just-announced product branding effort.
State and federal officials traveled to Knott County on Monday (Feb. 17) for the unveiling of the “Appalachia Proud: Mountains of Potential” campaign.
Since eastern Kentucky has seen a sizeable loss of coal jobs in recent years, Knott County Tourism Director Shawn Owens says the region can’t stick with a coal-only approach.
"Until we can get the regulations eased up and we can go back to do full production, then we’ve got to find an alternative resources and our folks have come to the conclusion that if we can’t have our coal business back, we’ve got to get another economy in here to be able to be able to sustain and keep our people here,” said Owens.
Owens says the government partnership could mean over 80 million dollars for the community over a decade.
“They also announced an Appalachian Wildlife Foundation is looking to develop around a nine million dollar facility here in eastern Kentucky promoting elk and it will have an observatory for stars and it will have basically an amphitheater to do shows and a research center that they will use for wildlife here in eastern Kentucky,” added Owens.
The program designates Kentucky Proud products made in some 37 eastern Kentucky counties. It also includes a number of recommendations such as executing a creative marketing strategy to combat inaccurate stereotypes.