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Appalshop leaders trying to determine what's best for a permanent home


A far eastern Kentucky organization known for capturing Appalachian culture and then dispersing information through video, audio, and theater is trying to determine what’s next regarding a permanent home.

Appalshop’s Whitesburg building suffered extensive damage during the floods in the summer of 2022. Appalshop leaders recently closed on the acquisition of property in Jenkins about 20 minutes away. Appalshop Operations Director Roger May said a move is not a given, but staying would mean extensive work on a building not only in the floodplain but also in a floodway. May noted they’re waiting to hear back from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“But in the meantime, this opportunity for the property in Jenkins presented itself and we were just concerned that if we passe on it we might miss an opportunity to have some property at a much higher elevation and out of the floodplain,” said May.

May said there’s a lot of interest among Appalshop staff to stay in Letcher County, if at all possible.
He said refurbishing the Whitesburg structure would mean the loss of what was the first floor.

“We would lose about 8000 square feet on our first floor on the building by doing that. And then try to rebuild above that line to be able to accommodate any future flooding events,” said May.

May said it would cost millions of dollars in either location. Plans call for community engagement sessions in both Whitesburg and Jenkins before the Appalshop Board makes any decision.


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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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