Pikeville receives grant to plan for lure medical, pharmaceutical industries

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — The city of Pikeville has been awarded more than $92,000 in federal CARES Act funding, to plan for economic development and diversification.

The money will be used to create a strategic plan to lure medical research and advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing to the region.

“Despite the challenges of the downturn of the coal industry, Eastern Kentucky is home to a highly-skilled workforce,” U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said. “The CARES Act is tapping into Pikeville’s potential for economic development and diversification, particularly in the field of cutting-edge medical innovation. I’m proud to continue working with my friend Congressman Rogers and local industry and educational leaders to encourage new areas of growth in this region. We all look forward to the completion of the recovery plan as a pathway toward this community’s future.”

“When we approved federal funding to combat this deadly virus and strengthen our economy, Sen. McConnell and I worked to ensure critical dollars funneled all the way from D.C. to Kentucky’s Appalachian region and the heart of coal country,” U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers said. “As our coal producing communities continue to rebuild and revitalize in the midst of a pandemic, this investment from the EDA will go a long way to support the City of Pikeville’s vision to build upon its strong medical and educational foundation in the mountains.”

Once the plan is completed, officials say it will provide a blueprint for local leaders to recover from the pandemic.

“It is a huge honor for the City of Pikeville to receive this grant, which will bring us the ability to develop a strategic plan to explore opportunities in medical research and development facilities,” Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter said. “With the loss of coal jobs in our community, there is both a need and a desire for new, innovative industries here in Pikeville, and we look forward to the endless possibilities this grant will help us explore. We thank Senator McConnell, Congressman Rogers, and the Economic Development Administration for this grant and are excited to show what Pikeville has to offer the growing medical research and development industry.”

“Through this funding granted to the City of Pikeville, a much-needed strategic plan will be developed to spotlight the need to expand our region’s healthcare industry cluster by adding medical research and other developments,” said Pikeville Medical Center Board Vice President and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “With the support of Congressman Rogers, Sen. McConnell, the City of Pikeville and others who are willing to invest in improving Eastern Kentucky and growing our economy, we will continue to see our region grow. As the region’s single largest employer and Kentucky’s only Level II Trauma Center, this funding is extremely important to Pikeville Medical Center and the area we serve.”

“The City of Pikeville has a phenomenal community, coupled with the necessary eagerness to accept this grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, thanks to Sen. McConnell and Congressman Rogers,” Pikeville City Manager Phillip Elswick said. “We are excited about the opportunities this grant will give us to further explore possibilities to attract medical research and development facilities. From our established industrial park and forward-thinking leadership, to our need for jobs and continued growth as a community, the City of Pikeville welcomes this opportunity and we are extremely grateful to the EDA.”

“The University is pleased to join with our partners in the City of Pikeville and at Pikeville Medical Center to explore the development of a medical research cluster here in Eastern Kentucky,” said University of Pikeville President Burton Webb, Ph.D. “Thanks to the support of Sen. McConnell and Congressman Rogers, we believe biomedical research will become an important part of this region’s economic portfolio for decades to come.”