Virginia communities get $3.9 milliion in federal funding

Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:19 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia will receive six grants totaling more than $3.9 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative.

The funding is designed to support recovery health programs, broadband infrastructure expansion, workforce development, natural gas line improvements and rural tourism and job growth efforts, according to Governor Northam.

“The Appalachian Regional Commission has long been a valuable partner in our efforts to build a strong and resilient economy and address the needs of our coal-impacted communities,” said Governor Northam. “These investments will improve the lives of individuals in Appalachian Virginia by making critical infrastructure improvements, expanding access to broadband, helping people navigate the substance abuse recovery process, building a sustainable and thriving workforce, and creating new opportunities for community and economic development.”

The ARC POWER Initiative is a congressionally-funded program that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries, said Northam, due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. This announcement is part of $43.3 million awarded to 51 projects to support economic diversification in the Appalachian region. The projects are designed to attract $110 million in leveraged private investment, as well as a match of $81.5 million in public and private funds.

“From health care and infrastructure to community and workforce development, these projects have the ability to transform the economic landscape of Virginia’s Appalachian communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This ARC funding goes hand in hand with the region’s goal to diversify its economy while creating vibrant communities with a high quality of life for residents and businesses alike.”

The following projects will be awarded ARC funding:

Henry County, in partnership with the Harvest Foundation and Southwest Virginia Gas Company, will receive $1,500,000 for the Site Improvements at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC) project, which will complete a steel natural gas pipeline from the Patriot Line to the CCBC and associated facilities. The project, according to Northam, will serve a facility that has already created more than 200 jobs and will enable more companies to move jobs into CCBC and the surrounding area.

The New River Valley Regional Commission will receive $32,940 for the New River Water Trail Expansion Strategic Plan. This project’s goal is to formulate a strategy to cultivate the natural assets around the New River to increase talent attraction, tourism and job growth by improving river accessibility and trail signage, providing a market analysis of user groups and potential partners, and designing a marketing strategy for the water trail.

The New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Area Consortium Board in the City of Radford will receive $1,494,000 for the Pathways to a Strong and Healthy Region project, designed to focus on unifying the resources and services that support people with substance abuse disorder to create a recovery-ready region.

Click here for more about the grants.

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