Pikeville Medical Center received a $1.5 million grant to help fund its new children’s hospital.

The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded Pikeville Medical Center the grant as part of its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, where it awarded $44.4 million worth of grants across nine states in the Appalachian region. ARC officially announced the award recipients on Tuesday.

Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville Medical Center CEO, said that he applied for the ARC’s available POWER grant because the grants were focused on promoting “job creation” and “making smart investments in our communities.” The grant will go toward equipment costs for the new facility.

“We are very excited,” Blackburn said. “No one can argue that an investment for a children’s hospital would not only create job opportunities, but it would create a healthier community with our children throughout the region being able to stay home and for their parents not to be burdened with all the costs associated with travel.”

The children’s hospital will provide health care for more than 100,000 children in 23 counties in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. The project will create 50 permanent jobs, while retaining more than 100 other pediatric medical and non-medical staff. It will treat children from birth to age 18, including infants born with drug dependencies.

Additional funding for the hospital came from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) pilot program, in which PMC received a $4.7 million grant, according to ARC.

Blackburn said that he received endorsements for the project from Gov. Matt Bevin, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

“We want people to be able to stay home, and they can do that in two different ways here with this investment,” Blackburn said. “We’re really grateful to our legislative partners, to AML and to, now, ARC because what this does is it puts more people to work.”

Blackburn said that PMC is currently working with architects and contractors for the construction plans of the project, and he hopes to start construction by the end of the year.

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