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Environmental permit approved, progress continues for Hazard high-ground community

Samantha Morrill

Construction on the Skyview high-ground community outside Hazard is moving forward as its environmental permit has been approved by the federal Department for Housing and Urban Development.

It joins The Cottages at Thompson Branch, in Letcher County. The communities are meant to help victims of last year’s regional flooding relocate.

Governor Andy Beshear said during his regular media briefing Thursday the permitting process is necessary to get needed federal funds.

“We can't even build an access road into it before that permitting is approved without sacrificing any of those federal dollars for that individual site,” Beshear said. “That's about $300 million that we simply have to have to build those homes.”

Infrastructure work has begun in both sites. Skyview is expected to house more than 100 homes when constructed. Beshear said the first home at The Cottages is expected to be dedicated by the end of the year.

This comes as two more high-ground communities were recently announced to be built. That includes the Grand View development in Letcher County and a site in Floyd County that was sold by the Wayland Volunteer Fire Department.

That makes seven across the region in total, also including Chestnut Ridge and Olive Branch in Knott County and New Hope Estates in Floyd County. Beshear says they will house at least 500 families when constructed.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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