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Foundation Wins Grant To Help Develop Wildlife Center In Ky.

Bevin Administration

A foundation working to develop a wildlife center on a reclaimed surface mine in eastern Kentucky has been awarded a grant to build water lines to the planned facility.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the White House announced the $1.8 million grant Wednesday. The newspaper reports the Appalachian Wildlife Center planned in Bell County would feature the country's largest elk restoration and viewing effort.

The grant is being awarded to the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation through an initiative aimed at boosting the economy in places struggling from a downturn in the coal economy. At an announcement Gov. Matt Bevin hailed the project as a great opportunity for the region.

"It is estimated that within five, six, seven years, there will be more than half-a-million people... a year that will be able to come, and I think if we take full advantage of what we look at around here, I think that's just beginning to scratch the surface," he told the audience.

The foundation has bought 500 acres for the wildlife center, signed a long-term lease for 12,000 surrounding acres and is working to line up money to build facilities. It is working to get the center open in 2019.