Projects in Patrick and Henry counties were among the 13 recommended by Gov. Ralph Northam to receive funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
The Reynolds Homestead is recommended to receive $51,592 for Critz Community Enhancement.
This project is a community-driven program and design study for a community center that will provide a gathering space in Critz, serving Patrick County and the surrounding region. The center will be focused on promoting equity and offering activities that include educational and professional development programs, after-school programs, cultural heritage programs, entrepreneurship training, and health and wellness programs.
In Henry County, Northam recommended $500,000 for the Historic Fieldale Recreation Center Restoration Project, which is the culmination of a regional planning grant that will restore the Fieldale Recreation Center into a multipurpose community center. Once rehabilitated, the center will support two full-time businesses as well as the nonprofit, Fieldale Heritage Inc., which provides educational, cultural, and recreational activities.
Projects in Wise, Lee and other areas also were recommended, for a total of $4.1 million in grants.
Virginia’s Appalachian region encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities. ARC will finalize approval of these project awards later this year.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission is a key funding tool for addressing the unique challenges facing our Appalachian region,” said Northam. “Investing in Appalachia is more important now than ever before as we work to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that no area of the Commonwealth is left behind in our recovery. These 13 projects align with our ongoing efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of all those in our Appalachian communities by creating new economic opportunities, building critical infrastructure, preparing a skilled workforce, and supporting community development.”
Established in 1965, the ARC is a federal agency focused on economic development throughout the Appalachian region. In February, Governor Northam was elected by Appalachia’s 13 governors to serve as ARC’s states’ co-chair for 2021. ARC grants are aimed at supporting 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.
“ARC funding gives Appalachian communities the flexibility needed to provide targeted assistance in community-identified areas, from improved water systems and community centers to addiction recovery facilities and museums,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These proposed projects will provide wide-ranging opportunities and further the vital work being done to diversify and strengthen the economy and communities of the region.”
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) works with localities and stakeholders in the region to develop strategic projects, which are evaluated by DHCD and the Governor to be recommended to the federal commission for approval.