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AARP awards $30,000 grant to City of Pikeville in effort to jumpstart arts district development


By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service

The City of Pikeville has received a $30,000 grant from AARP to improve its plaza and outdoor arts venue. The funding will jump-start the first phase of a more than one million dollar downtown revitalization plan.

Brad Slone is deputy manager of operations for the city. He says the plan, known as “Second Streetscape,” will ultimately boost economic development in Pikeville and the surrounding Appalachian region.

The Eastern Kentucky city of Pikeville will begin construction to improve its downtown arts district this fall. (Phtoot from Ronnie Hylton/PikeTV, via PNS)

“We want to change the street to make it more pedestrian-friendly,” says Slone. “And we have a theater, arts center, the Appalachian Center for the Arts, that’s located on Second Street in our downtown. We just kind of wanted to upgrade the plaza of that, and make it a place where people can gather and have more direct impact with local arts.”

When the project is complete, Slone says downtown Pikeville will have outdoor seating and gathering places adjacent to a local brewery, a new public park, historic murals and an amphitheater for outdoor music performances. Construction is set to begin in October.

AARP Kentucky State President Charlotte Whittaker says making Kentucky cities and towns more fun and walkable places is a way to encourage seniors – and residents and visitors of all ages – to get outdoors and make friends.

“They have identified an area of their city that needs a lot of tender loving care,” says Whittaker. “And we have stepped in to help make that happen. You know, there’ll be arts and music – just an area that, especially for folks 50 and over will have, to go to enjoy the arts.”

Local governments and groups in Danville, Lexington, Louisville and Newport also were awarded AARP Community Challenge grants, totaling more than $60,000 dollars for community improvements. AARP looks at projects across the country that make cities more livable.


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