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New ARC Grants Could Mean $40 Million For State

Where did the money for those glasses come from?
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If approved by the Appalachian Regional Commission, 14 grant projects could bring more than $40 million into West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice recommended the projects to the ARC through the state development office. The recommendations alone total more than $18 million. The additional money comes from matching funds that accompany the grants.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

West Virginia’s ARC grant program, which is managed by the State Development Office, provides financial and technical assistance for economic development and infrastructure projects through a partnership of federal, state, and local participants.

The ARC grants, totaling $18,134,694, will leverage an additional $22,230,299 from other funding sources, bringing the total amount of funding supporting these projects to $40,364,993.

Grants are awarded in two categories: Area Development, where funding can be spent in any county, and Distressed Counties, where funding can only be spent in areas officially designed as “distressed” by ARC – census tracts in at-risk and transitional counties that have a median family income no greater than 67 percent of the U.S. average and a poverty rate 150 percent of the U.S. average or greater.

The governor’s recommendations will now be sent to ARC for final approval.

Recommended projects listed below:

STATEWIDE

Partner Community Capital

$2,700,000

West Virginia Recreational Economies Initiative

Project will provide technical assistance services to tourism and recreation-based businesses across the state. Assistance will include business consulting, raising capital, financial packaging and management, real estate consulting, legal issues, and branding, design, and marketing strategies. Project partners include WV Department of Tourism, Woodlands Community Lenders, and the Hatfield-McCoy Trails Regional Recreation Authority. The project will create an estimated 585 jobs and leverage over $18 million in private investment into the state’s tourism and recreation-based economy.

West Virginia Department of Economic Development

$250,000

Competitive Improvement Program

The project will provide training and consultation services to small and medium-sized firms in West Virginia to increase their competitiveness. The project will address a unique need for which no other funding sources are available. The results of these services will be a greater number of companies that are increasing the range of their market and market share, and a commensurate increase in the number of jobs retained or created.

West Virginia Department of Economic Development

$220,000

Consolidated Technical Assistance

The West Virginia Development Office, with ARC funding assistance, will continue the Consolidated Technical Assistance program. The grant allows the West Virginia Development Office to employ staff for providing technical assistance to ARC applicants and grantees, monitoring and administering ongoing projects, drafting and implementing the West Virginia Development Plan, and operating the West Virginia Main Street and ON TRAC programs.

West Virginia Rural Water Association

$211,692

Infrastructure Circuit Rider Project

The project will provide funding for a drinking water and wastewater circuit rider to provide technical assistance to water and wastewater systems throughout the state. The circuit rider will provide assistance and consultation to local utilities in areas such as leak detection work, preventing inflow and infiltration, utility finance and management, water and wastewater system operations, and loan servicing. The project will enable local utilities to address critical issues without having to hire additional staff and promote more efficient operation and management of existing systems.

MULTI-COUNTY

Region 7 Planning and Development Council

$100,000

Corridor H Site Analysis Plan

Region 7 Planning and Development Council, in collaboration with the Corridor H Authority, will conduct a site analysis study to identify developable sites for industrial and commercial development along Corridor H. The study will evaluate identified sites based upon factors such as access, topography, infrastructure, environmental constraints, and surrounding land uses. Additional activities include completion of environmental assessments, site plans, and construction estimates at prioritized sites. The project area includes Barbour, Grant, Hardy, Lewis, Randolph, Tucker, and Upshur counties.

FAYETTE COUNTY

City of Oak Hill

$1,250,000

Oak Hill Collection System Rehabilitation Project

The project will rehabilitate portions of the collection system and pump stations for the City of Oak Hill’s wastewater system. The system has excess levels of inflow and infiltration and requires high levels of operation and maintenance expenses. The project will benefit approximately 4,048 customers and is in an ARC-designated at-risk county.

DISTRESSED COUNTIES

The EdVenture Group

$53,055

Simulated Workplace Leadership Series Project

The Simulated Workplace Leadership Series (SWLS) is a leadership development program designed to serve career and technical education (CTE) students within the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE)'s Simulated Workplace (SW) initiative. The project includes professional development for CTE instructors and training for CTE students in leadership skills and project management. Leadership and management skills will bolster the technical education students receive in CTE and better prepare them for post-secondary employment. The project will benefit approximately 270 CTE students in the ARC-designated distressed counties of Calhoun, Gilmer, Mingo, Nicholas, Roane, and Wyoming.

Marshall University Research Corporation

$569,617

Building Removal and Renovation Initiative

The project will address abandoned, unused, and dilapidated buildings and properties in the 17 ARC-designated distressed counties in the state. Project activities will include identifying dilapidated properties in each county, evaluating the properties according to environmental conditions, remediation costs, and redevelopment potential, and ranking structures based upon the evaluation results. The project will create 17 county level assessments and provide a roadmap for demolition or revitalization activities in each county.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center

$2,500,000

Minnie Hamilton Sewer/Water Line Replacement

The project will replace the water and sewer lines at the Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center in Grantsville. The current water and sewer lines at the facility are deteriorating and beyond their useful life. The facility has suffered repeated failures due to obsolete water and sewer lines, resulting in closure of parts of the facility, hampering critical care services to the local public. Minnie Hamilton is the only critical access hospital and community health center serving Calhoun and Gilmer counties.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Pleasant Hill PSD

$2,500,000

Norman Ridge/Bull River Water Extension

The project will provide new water service to approximately 77 customers in the areas of Norman Ridge, Big Root Run Road, and Bull River Road in Calhoun County. Customers currently rely upon private wells or cisterns that provide poor quality or insufficient quantity of water. The project is in an ARC-designated distressed county. The USDA grant funds are fully committed to the project.

CLAY COUNTY

Clay County Commission

$2,964,995

Big Otter/Nebo/Walker Road Waterline Extension

The project will provide potable water to over 80 residences, businesses and churches along Route 16 the northern part of Clay County, including Big Otter, Nebo, and Walker Road. This project will provide increased fire service pressure to the Big Otter Elementary School, who currently provides their own fire suppression tank. The extension will also serve Walker Creek Farms, a resort with cabins, restaurant, and other amenities. Project complements tourism development from the Elk River Trail and is in an ARC-designated distressed county.

MCDOWELL COUNTY

Reconnecting McDowell

$65,335

Renaissance Village Equipment Installation Project

The project will provide funding to purchase and install kitchen equipment for a restaurant to be located on the first floor of Renaissance Village, a multi-use facility located in downtown Welch. The project will aid in revitalizing Welch and facilitate tourism development from the nearby Hatfield-McCoy Trail. Matching funds are being provided by the ARC Federal Co-Chair. The project is in an ARC-designated distressed county.

NICHOLAS COUNTY

City of Richwood

$2,750,000

Sanitary Sewer System Improvements Project

The project will replace existing sanitary infrastructure and wastewater treatment equipment in the City of Richwood, reducing inflow and infiltration and create a more reliable sanitary sewer system. This will serve the existing 841 customers and the reconnection of 621 sanitary sewer customers. This will also improve the water quality of the Cherry River. Project is in an ARC-designated distressed county.

WYOMING COUNTY

Town of Oceana

$2,000,000

Oceana Water System Upgrade, Phase II

The project will repair and replace Oceana’s water delivery system to reduce water loss and waste. Project will also include upgrades to the existing water treatment plant. Most of the town’s water system was installed over 70 years ago and has deteriorated and is at the end of its useful life. The project will reduce a very high level of water loss, benefiting approximately 1,172 customers, and is in an ARC-designated distressed county.

News Director, edouglas@wvpublic.org, 304-556-4946, @AppalachiaEric

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