Kentucky’s lieutenant governor, Jacqueline Coleman, presented state funding awards to a variety of Kenton County organizations at a special event at the Kenton County courthouse in Covington Monday morning.

The money will serve to augment the region with additional investment in the hopes that the selected organizations can better build out their programs, services and, in some cases, staff.

“This is a pretty big deal today with all of the investments that are coming right here to this community,” Coleman said. “We had to actually condense a few of them into categories because we have 37 projects that are going to be funded to the tune of $22.5 million coming in right here to this community.”

The first group honored were law enforcement agencies from within the county, specifically, the Elsmere, Park Hills and Taylor Mill police departments, who were collectively awarded just over $13 million from the state’s Office of Homeland Security.

The second group to receive funding were tourist organizations, who received their money from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, a federal program to help cities and states make up for the financial shortfall caused by the COVID pandemic lockdowns. Coleman said that the money awarded to meetNKY was drawn from a $75 million allocation to help tourist industries within Kentucky.

Two payouts went to meetNKY, the region’s conventions and visitors bureau.

The first payout was for $5 million, which will help the bureau attract conventions and other large meetings to the area. The other payout was for just over $4.5 million, which will go to marketing attractions to individual tourists and families.

MeetNKY’s product development director, Josh Quinn, said the money awarded was “once in a lifetime recovery funds that will help the hardest hit industries during the pandemic.”

The final tourist organization to receive an award was the Kentucky Faith Trail, a trail of religious sites across several counties that’s still in development. The trail’s structure will resemble that of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and the amount of money awarded to the trail was $305,000.

The next award came from the Team Kentucky Nonprofit Assistance Fund, an initiative established by the governor’s office in 2022 to help nonprofit organizations within the state recover from the pandemic.

The award collectively issued about $2.3 million to about 30 Kenton County nonprofits, each receiving $100,000. Awarded organizations include Samaritan Car Care Clinic, Northern Kentucky Legal Aid Society, The Ion Center of Violence Prevention and Life Learning Center among others.

“We are so grateful for these resources,” said Christy Burch, CEO of the Ion Center, a state-designated rape and domestic violence crisis center that serves 13 counties.

Kim Webb, the executive director of the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky, agreed.

“Funds were used to help keep our doors open as the region’s only emergency low barrier shelter, as well as to support the staff who were first responders and kept working during this period of time,” Webb said.

The final award went to Sanitation District 1 and amounted to just over $10 million. The money will help fund the agency’s efforts to bring the state’s sewer systems up to date. Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann accepted the award on SD1’s behalf.

“This work continues to be about lifting up our families and lifting up our communities because we can’t move Kentucky forward if we’re leaving communities behind,” Coleman said. “We want to make sure that everybody feels the support that they need to feel to move forward.”

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