RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced more than $3.3 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awards for 13 projects in the Appalachian Region, which encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities in Southwest Virginia. Established in 1965, the general goal of the ARC program is to assist the region in achieving economic prosperity that more completely reflects the nation’s overall prosperity.
Speaking at today’s event, Governor McAuliffe said, “The Appalachian Region of Virginia boasts many natural, cultural and economic assets that make it a prime location for businesses and families to locate and thrive. These Appalachian Regional Commission grants make the region even more attractive and support workforce development, job creation and infrastructure, all key components in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”
ARC funds are broadly aimed at providing economic development in the Appalachian Region by funding projects that support the goal of building a strong and sustainable asset-based economy by bringing jobs to Appalachian communities while preserving their character and embracing their assets. During this year’s competitive cycle for ARC funding, 23 proposals were submitted, totaling more than $7.5 million.
“The ARC program is a vital tool for economic transformation throughout the Appalachian region,” said Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones. “Broadband is critical to economic growth in the 21st Century, and this is a great investment in technology infrastructure that will make the region even more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses.”
Governor McAuliffe made today’s announcement in Galax to recognize one of the ARC grant recipients. The Wired Road network, a regional private-public partnership, has been in existence since 2008, and is receiving an ARC grant in the amount of $300,000 for the Wired Road Connector Project. The Wired Road is an open-access, fully-integrated fiber and wireless regional broadband network that makes broadband available in Carroll and Grayson counties and the city of Galax. This particular project is connecting the existing Galax fiber infrastructure with Carroll County’s fiber infrastructure, therefore expanding the regional broadband network.
The following projects were awarded funding through the 2016 Virginia Appalachian Regional Commission:
- City of Bristol – Passenger Rail Study – $100,000
- Big Stone Gap – Big Stone Gap Visitors Center – $85,931
- Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine Appalachian Medicinal Herb Growers Consortium – Phase II: Processing herbs and adding more farmers – $125,930
- Henry County – Bassett Historic Train Depot Restoration Project – $500,000
- Mountain Empire Community College – Healthcare Simulation Access – $100,000
- The Wired Road Authority – Wired Road Connector Project – $300,000
- Town of Damascus – Damascus Downtown Waterfront Asset Development – $499,908
- The Barter Foundation Inc. – Expanding the Production Capacity of Barter Theater – Phase II – $500,000
- Lee County – Elydale Water Line Replacement – $140,000
- The Crooked Road – Expanding the Crooked Road Brand – $250,000
- Scott County – Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence – Duffield Satellite – $142,937
- New River Valley Regional Commission – Old School Food Center at Prices Fork – $500,000
- Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development – Planning Grants – $122,625