FRANKFORT — West Liberty and Morgan County will receive $100,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help rebuild from the devastasting tornado that struck the area March .
Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers announced the funding Thursday. The money will be used to hire an architect to develop a conceptual plan for the professional rebuilding of the city of West Liberty and Morgan County.
“Ensuring that the city of West Liberty and Morgan County have a strategic reconstruction plan in place will allow federal and state dollars to be used in the most efficient and effective way,” Beshear said.
“I commend ARC for their assistance in this process and want to reassure the residents of Morgan County that we will continue to support them and use every resource possible to help restore their community.”
The goal of the redevelopment plan will be to incorporate the integrity of the stone fronts and remaining buildings’ architecture in rebuilding efforts, while encouraging innovative and energy efficient designs for the new structures.
The plan will include designs for streets, traffic flow, land use, cultural aspects, tourism and the overall aesthetics of the city and county.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission has been an incredible partner in this region, and I’m pleased ARC has committed $100,000 to start the process of rebuilding West Liberty,” said Rogers, R-Someerset. “We have a long way to go, but this funding is a critical step in the right direction.”
The tornado that stuck West Liberty and Morgan County damaged or destroyed every city, county and state facility in the area. More than 400 homes were destroyed or suffered so much damage they were inhabitable. A total of 73 businesses and six churches were also demolished.
Six people died in Morgan County, and hundreds more were displaced from their homes.