SOMERSET — Several SOAR working groups will hold listening sessions in Eastern Kentucky through July 17. The listening sessions are designed to engage public dialogue about the next strategic steps toward Shaping Our Appalachian Region.
Each of the organization’s 10 working groups are holding organizational meetings and public listening sessions this summer to encourage community members to share ideas on how to improve the region.
The public is invited to attend all SOAR meetings. For full details, visit the new SOAR website at http://www.soar-ky.org.
The schedule includes:
July 15 — Tourism, Arts and Heritage Listening Session, from 5-7 p.m. at the Paramount Arts Center, 1300 Winchester Avenue in Ashland; Business Incubation Listening Session, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center, 440 Old Whitley Road in London; Health Listening Session, from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Letcher County Extension Agency, 478 Extension Drive in Whitesburg; Education and Retraining Listening Session, 6-7:30 p.m. at the EKU Manchester Campus (room 109) 50 University Drive in Manchester; Agriculture, Community & Regional Foods and National Resources Listening Session, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Pike County Extension Service, 148 Trivette Drive in Pikeville.
July 16 — Health Listening Session, from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the UK Center for Rural Health (room 214), 750 Morton Boulevard in Hazard; Regional Collaboration and Identity Listening Session, at 6:30 p.m. at the Corbin Technology Center, 222 Corbin Drive in Corbin.
July 17 — Tourism, Arts and Heritage Listening Session, 5:-7 p.m. at Morehead State University - Center for Health, Education & Research (CHER), room 310, 316 West Second Street in Morehead; Agriculture, Community & Regional Foods and Natural Resources Listening Session, 6-7:30 p.m. at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Lodge 2135 Natural Bridge Road in Slade; Education and Retraining Listening Session, 6-7:30 p.m. Harlan County High School, 4000 U.S. 119 Baxter Street in Harlan.
The SOAR initiative was launched by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers in late 2013, after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in Eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty.
More than 1,700 Kentuckians attended a one-day SOAR summit in Pikeville in December. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack those persistent challenges.
Follow SOAR on Facebook @ShapingOurAppalachianRegion and on Twitter @SOAR_EKY and find in-depth resources for the SOAR initiative online at http://www.soar-ky.org.