Governor Northam announces Appalachian Regional grants totaling more than $2.5M to help Virginia communities

Northam was elected in February by Appalachia’s 13 governors to serve as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s states’ co-char for 2021.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 3:41 PM EDT
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(WDBJ) - A handful of new grants were issued totaling more than $2.5M to help entrepreneurship, workforce development, and infrastructure throughout Virginia communities.

Governor Ralph Northam delivered the announcement Tuesday regarding the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative.

“ARC’s POWER initiative will continue to build on the region’s strengths and address its challenges, driving growth and opportunity throughout Appalachia. These projects demonstrate how regional collaboration can spur innovation, encourage entrepreneurs, diversify our economy, and support the critical infrastructure needed to bridge the digital divide, all of which strengthen Appalachian communities,” Northam added.

The details for the awards are as follows:

“2021 ARC POWER Virginia Awardees:

Buchanan/Tazewell Wireless Communication Job Growth Corridor | Virginia Coalfield Coalition | $1,000,000

The Virginia Coalfield Coalition will build six new, fiber-lit cell towers along a 20-mile stretch off U.S. Route 460. A public-private partnership with a national wireless service ensures the coverage provided by these new cell towers will fill the current service gaps. The project is expected to serve 25 existing businesses and facilitate business retention and recruitment at industrial parks in the region.

Central Appalachian CDC: Bringing Community Development Investment to Coal-Impacted Communities | Appalachian Community Capital | $1,500,000

Appalachian Community Capital and its partners will create high-quality community development and entrepreneurial opportunities by helping communities and businesses access new sources of capital. Serving five central Appalachian states (North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), the project will provide 40 coal-impacted communities with technical assistance, guidance, and outreach support. This will lead to a portfolio of investments that provide sufficient financial and social returns. Financial support for the project will be provided by the CDFI Fund at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Dogwood Health Trust, Goldman Sachs, and OhioSE Economic Development Financial. The project is expected to create 15 businesses and 3,000 jobs, while also leveraging $400 million in private investment.

Project Trace | LENOWISCO Planning District | $49,875

The LENOWISCO Planning District, in partnership with Invest SWVA, will determine the feasibility of adapting or creating an ag-tech tool to track and report food miles of specialty grains grown in Southwest Virginia. This tool will help capture the value that Southwest Virginia grains add to the industry, increasing grain market opportunities for area farmers and driving additional revenue.

Established in 1965, ARC is a federal agency focused on economic development in the Appalachian region. Grants administered by ARC support initiatives that build a strong and sustainable asset-based economy in Appalachia. The funding for these projects serve as catalysts for bringing jobs and prosperity to the region’s communities.”

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