POWER grants awarded to several localities

Henry County is among the localities to receive federal funding, according to a release from Gov. Ralph Northam.

Virginia will receive six grants totaling more than $3.9 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. The funding will support recovery health programs, broadband infrastructure expansion, workforce development, natural gas line improvements, and rural tourism and job growth efforts.

Henry County, in partnership with the Harvest Foundation and Southwest Virginia Gas Company, will receive $1,500,000 for the Site Improvements at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC) project, which will complete a steel natural gas pipeline from the Patriot Line to the CCBC and associated facilities. CCBC’s access to natural gas will strengthen this key future business site and support the County’s transition to a more diverse manufacturing economy able to incorporate aviation, automotive, food processing, and advanced film production sectors. The project will serve a facility that has already created over 200 jobs and will enable more companies to move jobs into CCBC and the surrounding area.

“The Appalachian Regional Commission has long been a valuable partner in our efforts to build a strong and resilient economy and address the needs of our coal-impacted communities,” said Northam. “These investments will improve the lives of individuals in Appalachian Virginia by making critical infrastructure improvements, expanding access to broadband, helping people navigate the substance abuse recovery process, building a sustainable and thriving workforce, and creating new opportunities for community and economic development.”

The ARC POWER Initiative is a congressionally funded program that 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. This announcement is part of $43.3 million awarded to 51 projects to support economic diversification in the Appalachian region. The projects will attract $110 million in leveraged private investment, as well as a match of $81.5 million in public and private funds.

“From health care and infrastructure to community and workforce development, these projects have the ability to transform the economic landscape of Virginia’s Appalachian communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This ARC funding goes hand in hand with the region’s goal to diversify its economy while creating vibrant communities with a high quality of life for residents and businesses alike.”

ARC funding also was awarded to:

The New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Area Consortium Board in the City of Radford will receive $1,494,000 for the Pathways to a Strong and Healthy Region project, which will focus on unifying the resources and services that support individuals with substance abuse disorder (SUD) to create a recovery-ready region.

St. Mary’s Health Wagon (The Health Wagon) in Wise County will receive $793,500 for the Southwest Virginia Medication-Assisted Treatment Services Project, which will establish a substance abuse treatment program that complements the region’s existing services. LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, which comprises the counties of Lee, Scott, and Wise, and the city of Norton, will receive $50,000 for the Tri-State Broadband Infrastructure Feasibility Study, which will create a plan to establish a fiber-optic network in a 13-county region of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Currently, only 64 percent of households in this service area have access to high-speed internet.

The New River Valley Regional Commission will receive $32,940 for the New River Water Trail Expansion Strategic Plan. This project will formulate a strategy to cultivate the natural assets around the New River to increase talent attraction, tourism, and job growth by improving river accessibility and trail signage, providing a market analysis of user groups and potential partners, and designing a marketing strategy for the water trail.

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