This week’s roundup is heavy on tourism. After all, tourism is big business in Kentucky, and we are making great strides in establishing Appalachia Kentucky as a destination.
Let’s take a look!
The SOAR Mini Summit is taking shape
Chief Operating Officer Joshua Ball visited Ashland on Tuesday to meet with the team at the Paramount Arts Center about the upcoming SOAR Mini Summit.
The Summit is March 7-8 and is presented by Kentucky Power. The Paramount Arts Center has quite the history, and we are honored to bring our first-ever Mini Summit to the venue and Northeastern Kentucky.
To learn more about the Paramount, click HERE, and register now for the Mini Summit.
Stay tuned for updates and special announcements.
Funding available to promote Tourism
Tourism brings in $60 billion annually in Appalachia. The majority of that goes to three areas — all in other states.
That has to change, and here is a real opportunity.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced that applications are now being accepted from tourism and destination-marketing organizations eligible to receive a portion of the $5.3 million in ARPA funding.
More than 150 tourism and destination-marketing organizations in Kentucky are eligible to receive funding to directly support economic recovery of the tourism industry. Funding will be distributed by the Department of Tourism beginning the week of March 11 and will be based on the respective county’s share of the overall tourism economic impact according to the 2019 Economic Impact Report.
Eligible tourism and destination-marketing organizations can apply here.
Tourism is an $8.9 billion industry that supports economic growth in both rural and urban communities in Kentucky. Throughout the pandemic, the commonwealth has invested more than $13 million in the tourism industry to strengthen promotional and advertising efforts by encouraging safe travel to Kentucky through the development of new marketing campaigns.
For more information about funding available to tourism and destination marketing organizations, visit kentuckytourism.com/eda-grant.
Boone’s Ridge making progress
In 1775, Daniel Boone marked a trail named Boone
Trace which later evolved into a larger wagon road, more
westwardly directed and known as the Wilderness Road. The Cumberland Plateau defining the border of Kentucky with Virginia and Tennessee forms a 70-mile sharp elevation change that made horse and wagon travel challenging.
The Cumberland Gap in Bell County was the only point that offered settlers a passable route. Many older hunting trails and Boone’s new trail all converged to this point along the Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia border.
Frank Allen, CEO of the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation, developed a vision around 2012 that perfectly coincided with Harry Caudill’s assumption from his Night Comes to the Cumberlands, 1962 publication to develop tourism in Eastern Kentucky by showcasing the natural beauty alongside the appeal of Kentucky’s newest significant repopulation of elk. That project has been a long, tedious, and challenging task; none of which deterred Frank Allen’s passion for the project.
The $50 million plus project is currently under construction in Bell County by Hacker Brothers Construction. Local tradesmen, suppliers, and service companies are now noticing the significance of this project and the impact is growing exponentially. It is also projected to bring nearly 1 million tourists annually to this outdoor venue, local permanent jobs, scholarships, and supporting business opportunities. Every effort has been made to engage outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers through an ever expanding diverse venue of offerings at Boone’s Ridge.
You can view a countdown projection and progress timeline images HERE.
Turtle Farm Pottery relaunches website
Turtle Farm Pottery has relaunched its website and online store! They have several universal pieces as well as custom pieces to choose from.
The local pottery shop, located in the heart of the Red River Gorge, was started by Casey Papendieck and his wife, Laura. Their goal is to bring unique and vibrant experiences to their customers through their pottery. Their pottery is a staple all across the Red River Gorge, not only in shops but also restaurants.
Make sure to check out their local showroom when you’re in the Gorge area and don’t forget to check their website for unique Valentine’s Day gifts.
Jewel Art Gallery opens in Ashland
Appalachia Kentucky has so much to offer, and one of those offers is a new art gallery in Ashland, Kentucky.
Jewel Art Gallery, which features more than 30 local artists, will celebrate its grand opening later this month. The owner, Bri Reynolds, hopes the model of promoting local artists with this platform will allow artists to showcase their work and find potential buyers.
You can read more about the art gallery HERE.
New business set to get a storefront in Russell
A new business is opening in the town of Russell, and it’s great for those with a sweet tooth!
Brandy Coyle started by selling chocolates from her home. It was a huge success, with everyone loving her grandmother’s homemade recipes. She decided to transform her at-home business to a storefront.
The Best Darn Chocolate will be opening this spring, with all the delicious treats to make your mouth water! Read more about their story in the Ashland Beacon.