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Tourism Key To SOAR Mission

One component of the state’s ambitious initiative to jumpstart the struggling economy of Eastern Kentucky is a renewed focus on tourism.

WYMT-TV reports state officials met at Natural Bridge State Park to discuss that effort Tuesday.

Much has been made of the SOAR, or Shaping our Appalachian Region, initiative’s emphasis on job creation and technology, but work is also underway to highlight one of the advantages the region already possesses – namely, its natural scenic beauty.

This week Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 498, a measure that cuts the minimum $1M investment required to create an officially recognized tourism attraction in the region in half.

"We hope that this is a tool that the governor, the congressman and the secretary of the tourism cabinet can use as we do re-shape our Appalachian region and as we diversify our economy in eastern Kentucky," State Rep. Rocky Adkins said.

Key to that push are ongoing efforts to bring high-speed internet and other modern conveniences expected by today’s tourists to the area.

SOAR has also received a $750,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to cover the start-up costs for staffing over the next four years as workers set about implementing the initiative’s goals.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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