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Downtown Pineville Revitalization

Pineville, Kentucky, is revitalizing its downtown after several years of feeling the impact of being one of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) economically distressed counties. The town is putting a significant emphasis on the new energy economy and infrastructure, including restaurants, businesses and housing. Starting in 2013, Main Street Pineville rolled out incentives for upkeeping properties and recent renovations, such as that of the local theater that flooded in 1977, are bringing life into downtown.

Using a mix of private and public funds, including more than $1 million from ARC, Pineville’s downtown square went from 20% occupied in 2016 to 100% occupied in 2021, and is now filled with a diverse array of businesses and a thriving music venue. Yoga sessions, exercise classes, sip-and-paint events and new restaurants opening are just the beginning of what has been happening in the downtown area since the revitalization process began. The historic Bell Theatre was renovated as part of this project and now hosts frequently sold-out shows, driving economic benefits and tourism to the community.

The town is also in the midst of a streetscape project, funded in part by an ARC grant. The next phase is expected to include decorative sidewalks, public Wi-Fi, café tables and other tourist amenities that will attract new visitors and residents to the area.

East Kentucky, located in central Appalachia, ranks number two in the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG)’s top 25 priority communities based on coal employment loss. Coal mining was the predominant industry in the region, including Pineville, until the downturn in 2013, which led to significant job and tax loss.

The Energy Communities IWG is charged with advancing an interagency commitment of robust federal leadership in direct partnership with energy communities to foster economic investment and revitalization and ensure the creation of good-paying jobs. The Energy Communities IWG has identified billions of dollars in funding to support transitioning energy communities in reviving their economy for the future. Investments in projects such as Main Street Pineville help ensure new jobs and opportunities will become available in all pockets of America.

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