Quick Takes

Fourth ‘higher-ground’ homesite for Eastern Kentucky flood victims will be in Knott County

By: - July 28, 2023 4:15 pm

A storefront in Hindman says Knott County is “coming back better and stronger than before,” in December 2022. On Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear said a second Knott County site will house survivors of Eastern Kentucky floods. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

Another residential community to house survivors of last summer’s Eastern Kentucky floods will be in Knott County, along Chestnut Ridge Drive, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday. 

The news, along with the Thursday announcement of a Floyd County site, come on the heels of the one-year anniversary of devastating floods that killed 45 people. Flooding began on July 26, 2022.  

The latest Knott County site, which will be dubbed the Chestnut Ridge High-Ground Community, is near the unincorporated community of Soft Shell and is east of the Knott County Sportsplex, a press release from the governor’s office said. With amenities such as walking trails and outdoor recreation areas, the site covers more than 100 acres and will have single-family residential lots. 

Beshear, who traveled to Eastern Kentucky Friday, said in the release that “when the floods hit, we promised each other that we would be there for one another until every life and structure is rebuilt. Today we get to announce plans for a new, safe and resilient high-ground community in Knott County that will lift up this entire region.”

A time frame for the project to be completed was not included in the press release, but the property costs $2.37 million and is owned by Western Pocahontas Properties, a West Virginia-based company. Before the Beshear administration acquires it, a federal environmental review must be completed to determine if disaster relief funding from the Community Development Block Grant program is eligible for the site. 

Western Pocahontas will donate the right of way for an access road to the site. The state plans to use CDBG funds through the Kentucky Housing Corporation to build homes on the site. 

The press release said the acreage the state will develop will accompany land donated by Joe and Kelly Craft to the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. Joe Craft, now an executive of coal producer Alliance Resource Partners, is a Hazard native. His wife, Kelly Craft, is a former United Nations ambassador and unsuccessfully sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination earlier this year. 

The combined community will have about 200 homes, possibly with multi-family apartments.  

Other residential sites for flooding survivors have been announced in Talcum, which is near the Knott-Perry county line, as well as near downtown Hazard.

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.