Last updated: July 17. 2013 2:55PM - 693 Views

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Special to the Daily News

PIKEVILLE, Ky. The Big Sandy Area Development District Kentucky e-Clearinghouse has approved the Pikeville Scholar House Project.

The Pikeville Scholar House will provide decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing through the new construction of 48 multifamily housing units and an onsite childcare facility. Along with the housing units will be a 15,000-plus square foot Childhood Early Education Center, which will also house the academic centers offices, a computer/media lab, childrens library and multipurpose/classroom space.

Scholar House Committee Chair and Executive Director of the Pike County Housing Authority Gaye Newsome feels the BSADD e-Clearinghouses approval is great news, but there is still a long way to go.

This is just the beginning, Newsome said. The committee has a long way to go before this project can become a reality.

Newsome said the committee works great together and she is excited to see community leaders join together.

Everyone has been so supportive and worked so hard toward making this project a reality, Newsome said. The University of Pikeville, the Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Pike County Government, the Pikeville City Government, the Pikeville YMCA, the Pike County Housing Authority, the Pikeville Affordable Housing Corporation and the University of Louisville all worked together on this.

UPike President Paul Patton found out about the Scholar House from University of Louisville President James Ramsey, who served in Pattons administration during his time as Kentuckys 59th Governor. Patton realizing the benefits of the Scholar House led community leaders to step up and get the planning of the project under way.

Members of the Scholar House Committee are Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford, Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn, UPike President Paul Patton, UPike Vice President James Hurley, Executive Director of the Big Sandy ADD Sandy Runyon, Newsome, Pike County Community Services Director Carol Napier, Bob Finch, Randy Johnson, Carolyn Justice, Tammy Stansbury, Cathy Dykstra, Kyle Miller, Teresa Bartley, Gloria Hall and Sean Gilbert.

Several members of the committee, including Gov. Patton, Hurley, Rutherford, Pike County Office of Energy and Community Development Director Charles Carlton, Newsome and Sherry Riddle of the YMCA took a tour of the Scholar House in Louisville.

Runyon reported to the Big Sandy ADD that the location has not been completely nailed down, but according to the project summary the Scholar House would be on property controlled by the City of Pikeville on the corner of Auxier and Saad avenues. A portion of this two-acre plot was obtained through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Rutherford was asked by the committee to explain the Scholar House Project and informed the Big Sandy ADD Board of Directors that this was in no way a housing project per-se, but in fact an education project with a housing component.

This project would give a single parent who is on welfare and placing them in a secure apartment, Rutherford said. The goal would be to take a person from welfare to the workforce.

Rutherford added that these single parents could earn a college education at the University of Pikeville, Big Sandy Community and Technical College or National College and all students would come through the social services network from all Big Sandy ADD counties.

The Scholar House would be funded through the Kentucky Housing Corporation, and according to the Oct. 1-2 edition of the Appalachian News-Express, would be 48 units in phase I and cost $11 million. Pike County Housing Authority Vouchers would be used to cover the rent for single-parent tenants.

Getting a young person off welfare and back to work, getting them a college education where they can work and pay taxes is a benefit to everyone, Rutherford said. It is really a dream come true.

BSADD Chair Dr. Charles Doc Hardin, Magoffin County Judge-Executive, asked Runyon to make sure Rutherfords remarks were made part of the minutes.

This is an amazing regional program, Hardin said. It would literally make it so easy for a single parent to get a college degree so they could become productive citizens and get off welfare, all while having a decent apartment with a child learning center on site.

Hardin gave a strong recommendation for this project and it passed the board with a unanimous vote.
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