Planning commission to receive federal funds

The West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC) is among those in Virginia selected to receive federal funds, according to a release from U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine.

A total of $1,600,000 will be used to support redevelopment and revitalization to diversify and strengthen regional economies, according to a release from Warner, D-Alexandria and Kaine, D-Richmond.

The monies were authorized by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which both Kaine and Warner supported.

“We’re pleased to announce this critical funding which will support Virginia’s planning district commissions in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated our communities. We must ensure they are equipped with the tools necessary to continue to provide essential services while keeping workers safe,” they said.

West Piedmont and each of the other three commissions will each receive $400,000.

David Hoback, executive director of the West Piedmont commission, said the funds will be tapped for two major purposes: employing a grant coordinator to seek grants and administer grants on behalf of the region’s localities, and the development another pandemic and economic recovery and resilience plan.

The WPPDC serves the counties of Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and Pittsylvania; the cities of Danville and Martinsville; and the Town of Rocky Mount.

The Crater Planning District Commission, Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission also are among those to receive funds.

Congress provided $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs through the CARES Act to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The funding was awarded through the EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which provides financial assistance to communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the pandemic’s fallout.

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