$4M grant issued for EastPark prep work

October 20, 2018 GMT

ASHLAND — A $4 million grant to do site preparation work at the location of the proposed $1.68 billion Braidy Industries aluminum rolling mill was announced by Kentucky officials this week.

The Abandoned Mine Lands pilot grant was awarded by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands to Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Park Authority as part of a program to revitalize the coalfields in Kentucky’s Appalachian region, officials said. U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced the award.

“The northeastern region is thriving with new, innovative opportunities, and this grant supports Braidy Industries’ plans to provide jobs to our highly skilled, readily available workforce. It also paves the way for future economic development opportunities and helps us reimagine Kentucky’s Appalachian region as a major manufacturing hub,” Rogers said during a ceremony announcing the grant at the EastPark Industrial Center, the Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Park Authority’s 1,000-acre, multi-use business park near Ashland.

Officials said the project will involve installing a grid of aggregate and concrete support piers and columns on a 300-acre site that will support the weight of the planned 2.5 million-square-foot mill that will produce material mainly for the automotive industry.

EastPark is the creation of Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence counties’ governments and the commonwealth of Kentucky and hosts businesses that employ 1,076 people, according to a news release from the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.

“This significant AML grant will fund site preparation work that is essential for attracting

investment and new opportunities to the area ” Bevin said in the release.

The AML Pilot Program, funded through the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, is a joint effort by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Department for Local Government, the SOAR Initiative in Eastern Kentucky, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.

In June, Braidy Industries hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its planned aluminum mill at the EastPark Industrial Center, despite not having all the funding in place for the project. Since the ceremonial groundbreaking, no work has started on the massive project.

Braidy officials said they were hoping the new mill would open in 2020, but documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in September indicated that the company is looking to raise more than S400 million through a common stock offering before it can begin construction.