Virginia’s Appalachian Region to receive $7.4 million in governor-recommended grants

Richmond, Virginia – Governor Glenn Youngkin has recommended 13 projects for funding by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), totaling $7.4 million in grants. The ARC is set to finalize approval of these project awards later this year.

“These projects represent the innovation and strong entrepreneurial spirit of the Appalachian region,” said Governor Youngkin. “ARC plays a pivotal role in empowering our Appalachian communities to address their unique challenges, capitalize on their unique assets, and drive positive change throughout the region.”

The ARC program, established in 1965, aims to assist the region in achieving economic parity reflective of the nation’s overall economic growth. The Virginia ARC region includes 25 counties and eight independent cities in Southwest Virginia. ARC grants support the goal of building a strong and sustainable asset-based economy by funding projects that serve as catalysts for bringing jobs and prosperity to Appalachian communities while preserving their character.

Targeted Investment in Appalachian Communities

“As we grow Virginia’s economy, we must ensure that Appalachian regions, communities, and residents are not left behind,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “By investing in targeted, community-identified projects, we are offering support where localities need it most and building a stronger, more resilient Appalachia.”

“ARC funding plays a pivotal role in transforming underserved Appalachian communities in a way that preserves the unique history, ambiance, and assets of the region,” added Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Director Bryan Horn. “The flexibility of the ARC program allows us to offer targeted assistance to fill funding gaps and empower Virginia’s unique Appalachian communities.”

Funded Projects and Their Impact

The recommended projects span various sectors, including infrastructure, broadband expansion, and community development. The proposed funding allocations are as follows:

  • Buchanan County: Big Rock/Conaway Wastewater Treatment Plant Replacement – $1,000,000
  • Lee County: Western Lee Sewer Project Phase 1-A – $1,000,000
  • Town of Big Stone Gap: Big Cherry Accessibility Improvements Project – $700,000
  • Dickenson County Public Service Authority: Backbone Ridge Ph 4/Gilbert Drive Water Line Replacement Project – $700,000
  • Giles County: Pem Tel’s Rte 100/Rte 42 Corridor Broadband Project – $700,000
  • Lee County: Stickleyville Waterline Extension – $700,000
  • City of Martinsville: Martinsville MiNet Expansion, 2024 – $700,000
  • Town of Pulaski: Calfee Community and Cultural Center Expansion – $700,000
  • Wise County: Adaptive Reuse: Lena Huckstep Community Kitchen – $545,692
  • Friends of SWVA: Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Assessment and Development Initiative – $300,000
  • Round the Mountain: SWVA’s Round the Mountain Artisan Network – $300,000
  • City of Bristol: Bristol 2024: Pre-Engineering Feasibility Study for Mendota Trail Downtown Bristol Connector – $70,000
  • City of Galax: The Rex Theater Revitalization – $50,000

The total recommended funding amounts to $7,465,692.

Promoting Economic Development

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) collaborates with localities and stakeholders to develop strategic projects, which are then evaluated by DHCD and the Governor before being recommended to the federal commission for approval.

“By funding these projects, we are not only addressing immediate needs but also laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth and sustainability in the Appalachian region,” said Governor Youngkin.

These projects exemplify the commitment to fostering a thriving and resilient Appalachian economy by leveraging local strengths and addressing community-specific needs. The initiative underscores the importance of targeted investments in infrastructure, education, and cultural development to promote regional growth and prosperity.

For more information about ARC and the funded projects, visit the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development website.

Gayle Gordon

As a college student, making an extra buck now and then was very important. I started as a part-time reporter since I was 19 yo, and I couldn’t believe it might become a long-time career. I'm happy to be part of the Virginian Tribune's team.

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