The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded $1,500,000 to Henry County for natural gas service to the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC).
Henry County Administrator Tim Hall said the grant represents a piece of the funding and project to provide natural gas service.
But, once the service is available, the CCBC will be positioned to offer “every utility that advanced manufacturing needs or wants. That could elevate us in the eyes of potential clients,” he added.
U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R- Salem, said the CCBC “is an important part of Henry County’s economic development strategy. ARC’s grant of $1.5 million to connect the site to natural gas service will make it more attractive to manufacturing operations, which will create jobs and support the local economy. I am excited by this big step forward.”
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner, D-Alexandria, and Tim Kaine, D-Richmond, announced a total of $3,910,184 in ARC funding for communities in Southwest and Southside Virginia. The funding, awarded through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, will go towards addressing substance-use disorders, improving broadband connectivity, strengthening rural economies and improving local infrastructure.
“We are thrilled that these federal dollars will go help fund some of the top priorities for communities in Southwest and Southside Virginia,” they said. “As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it’s essential that we keep bolstering rural economies, ensuring internet reliability, and supporting some of the most vulnerable Virginians.”
ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas said “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”
In addition to Henry County, other projects slated to receive funds are:
*$1,494,000 for the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Area Consortium Board in Radford, to tackle the substance-use disorder problem by coordinating the healthcare sector and the economic development and workforce sector to build a recovery ecosystem.
*$793,500 for St. Mary’s Health Wagon in Wise County to establish a substance-use disorder treatment program using medication-assisted treatment.
*$50,000 for LENOWISCO to develop a strategic plan to establish a fiber network in a 13-county region throughout Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
*$39,744 for the Center for Rural Development to create a Rural Leaders Institute for Southwest Virginia.
*$32,940 for the New River Valley Regional Commission to develop a plan to boost tourism and job growth by cultivating the natural assets around the New River.
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. Its mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. ARC’s POWER Initiative 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 due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.