Northam announces $4.2M to stimulate economic recovery in Appalachia

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Gov. Ralph Northam today announced he is recommending more than $4.2 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grants for 17 projects in the Appalachian region of Virginia, which encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities in Southwest Virginia.

ARC grants are used to stimulate economic development by funding projects such as infrastructure, entrepreneurship development, and workforce development. The federal commission will finalize approval of these project awards later this year.

“ARC grants are an important funding tool for many communities in the Appalachian region of our Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Investing in infrastructure, our workforce, and economic and community development are essential components of our COVID-19 recovery, especially in rural Virginia. This funding will help us build on the region’s strengths, address its challenges, and drive growth and opportunity throughout Appalachia.”

Established in 1965, the ARC program’s goal is to assist the Appalachian region in achieving economic prosperity. ARC funding supports building strong and sustainable asset-based economies by bringing jobs and prosperity to Appalachian communities while preserving their character. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) works with localities and stakeholders in the region to assist in developing strategic projects, which are evaluated by DHCD and the Governor and recommended to the federal commission for approval.

“From childcare and entrepreneurship to infrastructure and outdoor recreation, ARC funding gives communities the flexibility to invest in a wide variety of projects,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These 17 proposed projects will provide job creation opportunities for Appalachian communities and help further the work to diversify the economy of the region.”

The following projects are recommended for funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission:

Hunt’s Fork Waterline Extension Project
$500,000 ARC Award
Buchanan County
The Hunt’s Fork Waterline Extension service area includes 44 households and 109 residents that do not have potable water. The project will connect to the existing Buchanan County Public Service Authority water system adding 2,750 linear feet of 8-inch waterline, 7,200 linear feet of 4-inch waterline, 250 linear feet of 2-inch waterline, 7,560 linear feet of 3/4-inch water line, nine gate valves, and associated appurtenances.

Downtown Christiansburg Community Gathering Space
$275,000 ARC Award
Town of Christiansburg
The Christiansburg Community Gathering Space will create a welcoming farmers market and multipurpose cultural anchor space in downtown Christiansburg that will act as a catalyst for future economic growth and vibrancy, and serve the need for both programmed and spontaneous outdoor public space use.

Red Onion Industrial Park Project
$50,000 ARC Award
Dickenson County
The project includes the development of a 30-acre industrial park in Dickenson County adjacent to Virginia State Route 83 (ADHS Corridor Q) and involves onsite access roads, fiber broadband extensions, site development (three pads of five to 15 acres), onsite water, sewer and natural gas line extensions, and support for the creation of up to 300 jobs.

The Harvest Foundation
Workforce Foundations: Advancing Early Childhood Education in the City of Martinsville and Henry County
$216,880 ARC Award
City of Martinsville and Henry County
This project will strengthen the City of Martinsville and Henry County workforce through the improvement and expansion of early childhood education businesses, and by increasing the number of fully trained and credentialed professionals to deliver high-quality childcare. The project will result in fifteen new jobs and six new childcare businesses in the community.

Town of Lebanon Russell Theater Restoration Project
$50,000 ARC Award
Russell County
The restoration of the historic Russell Theater into an anchor performance space will not only address the blight of the current state of the building, but will also provide the central and key component necessary for the success of the Town of Lebanon Downtown Revitalization Project by attracting tourists and new businesses to downtown Lebanon.

St. Charles Water Line Replacement
$500,000 ARC Award
Lee County
The Lee County Public Service Authority (PSA) will continue a phased replacement of aging and derelict water lines in and around the Town of St. Charles, helping address problematic areas of continuing leaks and hydraulic deficiencies. This will ultimately enable the PSA to lower the existing rate structure in one of the most economic distressed areas of Lee County.

The Fields Waterline Replacement Phase II
$218,027 ARC Award
Lee County
This project will continue a phased replacement of aging and derelict water lines to provide consistently reliable water service to the Fields community of Ewing through the replacement of approximately 7,771 linear feet of 4-inch, 2-inch, 1-inch, and 3/4-inch water lines, and all applicable appurtenances. This will reconnect 36 customers in one of the most economically distressed areas of Lee County.

LENOWISCO Planning District Commission
Amelioration Strategic Development Plan
$48,000 ARC Award
Wise County
Project Amelioration will create a focused plan of action to strategically develop and implement a fully comprehensive ecosystem of recovery for individuals with opioid use disorder. The approach is centered on removing barriers that tend to derail the recovery process by providing a multitude of services including counseling, health care, legal services, housing, skills and job training, and employment.

New College Foundation
Center for Trades Entrepreneurship Planning Study
$50,000 ARC Award
City of Martinsville
This project will produce a report detailing a training curriculum and course of study for entrepreneurship in the skilled trades. This will result in the creation of a Center for Trades Entrepreneurship at the New College Institute, which will promote entrepreneurship in the region specific to the skilled trades, increasing both the number of new businesses in the region and the number of individuals pursuing skilled trade degrees.

Norton Industrial Development Authority
Projection Intersection Site 4 Utilities
$400,000 ARC Award
City of Norton
This project will extend water, sewer, gas, and broadband infrastructure to the identified “Site 4” in the new regional business park, Project Intersection, in the City of Norton to support site development and services for a significant business prospect. The project will result in the installation of 6,100 linear feet of water line, 1,700 linear feet of sewer line, and 2,100 linear feet of fiber.

Patrick County Broadband Engineering Study and Design
$35,000 ARC Award
Patrick County
This project will develop a comprehensive plan to aid Patrick County in identifying projects for short-term and long-term investment in broadband expansion and economic growth. The Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Engineering Plan will look at the existing infrastructure and service providers in Patrick County as well as design a FTTH network that incorporates 100 percent of homes and businesses.

Pennington Gap Business Center for the Trades
$50,000 ARC Award
Town of Pennington Gap
The goal of this project is to provide a cost-efficient place for entrepreneurs to succeed with the target market skilled and/or trained workforce, ready-to-work employees, and those entering the service workforce.

People Incorporated Financial Services
Business Technical Assistance
$63,233 ARC Award
Buchanan, Dickenson, and Russell Counties
People Incorporated Financial Services will provide entrepreneurial and financial training to low- and very low-income individuals and communities in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Russell counties. These training opportunities will include credit and financial literacy skills-building courses and small business workshops that help participants more fully understand the financial responsibilities of small business ownership. The project is targeting fifty individuals.

Virginia Community Capital
Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
$197,592 ARC Award
Regional – Southwest Virginia
This project is designed to support in-person local business competitions and workshops in Southwest Virginia, as well as offer revolving loan fund support services that complement existing local, regional, and state economic development efforts to grow and strengthen new and existing businesses. Thirty businesses will be served, and 15 will be improved.

Glamorgan Sewer Project
$500,000 ARC Award
Wise County
The Wise County Public Service Authority will install a wastewater collection system in the Glamorgan community, providing new public sewer service to an estimated 62 residential connections in a previously unserved area of Wise County at the northwestern boundary of the Town of Wise.

Millwald Theatre Restoration and Economic Revitalization Project
$500,000 ARC Award
Town of Wytheville
This project will restore the historic Millwald Theatre and promote its service as a multipurpose, entertainment, education, and community engagement venue in the heart of downtown Wytheville. The catalytic renovation of the theater will foster vibrant downtown economic growth.

YMCA at Virginia Tech – Y Cares Childcare Center
$499,985.50 ARC Award
City of Blacksburg
The YMCA at Virginia Tech’s Y Cares Children Center is designed to create approximately 20 to 25 new full-time jobs in the region and provide training and mentor opportunities to individuals entering the workforce.


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