Old Webster County Coal Mine Being Turned Into Workforce Center

Awards will purchase land for a training facility and to upgrade failing sewer system and roads.

Posted: Apr 28, 2021 3:52 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2021 8:44 AM

Gov. Andy Beshear announced nearly $1 million in funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for communities in Western Kentucky. Recipients will use funds to purchase land for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center in Webster County and to upgrade the outdated Job Corps Sewer system in Union County.

“Every Kentucky community should have reliable water and sewer service and a strong education system,” said Gov. Beshear. “I’m grateful for these projects because they will provide Kentuckians opportunities in critical industries at both the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center and the Job Corp Center, which will improve communities across Western Kentucky.”

Webster and Union Counties applied jointly for $472,000 to purchase property for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center. In collaboration with Madisonville Community College, the facility will train students as utility linemen and diesel mechanics and help them obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

The former administrative offices at the Dotiki Mine, which closed in 2019 and has remained unused since, will house the training center. The recipients will use former mine land to train dislocated coal miners for new careers as the community readjusts following mine closures and job loss in the industry.

"In the western part of the state, we feel sometimes we're forgotten about to be quite honest," said Webster County Judge Executive Steve Henry. "And sometimes we don't feel we get our fair share. But certainly that is not the case today."

“Union County is thrilled to partner with Webster County and Madisonville Community College to create the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center (WKRTC),” said Judge/Executive O’Nan. “The WKRTC will provide skilled training programs for students interested in very high demand career paths. We are honored to be a part of this regional effort to strengthen Western Kentucky’s workforce. We are grateful to the Department for Local Government for investing in our project and helping to make it a reality.”
Madisonville Community College President Dr. Cindy Kelley explained that the training center will help foster economic growth throughout Western Kentucky.

Webster and Union Counties were also awarded more than $350,000 from the Delta Regional Authority for this project, making the total funding for this project more than $800,000.

Union County and Morganfield applied jointly for $500,000 to upgrade the Job Corps sanitary sewer system, which will provide modern infrastructure and improve service at the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Center, which is an extension of the national Job Corps residential career training program.

The program is a tuition-free training and education program that helps Kentuckians ages 16 to 24 complete their high school education while simultaneously training them for careers. The center offers programs in welding, maintenance and light repair, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, certified nursing assistantship, culinary arts and more.

Upon completion, the applicants will replace oversized sewer lines and approximately 310 brick manholes. Additionally, they will rehabilitate approximately 67,000 linear feet of 8-inch clay pipe using trenchless methods. By upgrading this infrastructure, the collection system will have appropriately sized pipes and will resolve major infiltration and inflow issues.

Union County and Morganfield were also awarded $3 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for this project and will use additional funds, making the total funding for this project more than $4.2 million.

Gov. Beshear also announced transportation investments of $750,070 in Webster and Union counties to improve highway safety and infrastructure near Western Kentucky schools.

In Webster County, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will invest $750,000 to design and construct two-way left turns on KY 1340. This will provide easier and safer access into three Webster County schools, the Webster County Area Technology Center and neighboring athletic fields. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.

In Union County, a $70,000 repair project will be performed to install lining in a ditch along US 60 to combat erosion that could damage the nearby Union County High School student parking lot and create drop-offs if not corrected. Work is expected to begin in 2021.

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After a damp start to our Monday, the rain and skies gradually cleared for many of us and we were left with a pleasant and breezy, albeit humid afternoon throughout the Tri-State. The southerly winds paired with the clearer skies later in the day helped drive temperatures back into mid to low 80s for many of us. The evening ahead should remain dry and mild; after seeing temperatures around 80° dinnertime and 75° by 10PM, we'll fall off to a morning low near 69° in Evansville early Tuesday morning.
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