FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Several eastern Kentucky communities will share nearly $3.7 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grants, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday.

Communities receiving funds are Booneville, Hazard, Morehead, Mount Vernon and Somerset, the governor said. The projects are aimed at updating infrastructure, bolstering education, spurring economic development and improving health care.

Morehead State University will use $622,902 in funding to improve research capabilities and academic instruction in space systems engineering and astrophysics, the governor's office said. The school will install a satellite-tracing antenna for research, student training and to support NASA missions.

In Mount Vernon, Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center Inc. will use $360,000 in funding for an apprenticeship program.

Beshear also announced nearly $4 million in funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to a dozen communities for improvement of local streets and roads.

Eastern Kentucky's economy has suffered from a declining coal industry long before the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted more economic damage.