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ARC Funding Includes Agriculture, Outdoor Trails & Craft Beer Tourism

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Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting
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Kate Marshall of Grow Ohio Valley beside the "Farmacy" stand at Health Right Wheeling

According to a press release from the Appalachian Regional Commission, $22.8 million is being awarded to 33 projects in the Appalachian region.

The funding is part of the ARC’s POWER program, an initiative that awards federal funding for coal impacted communities to help them create jobs.

Some of the projects that received awards are in West Virginia, including farming projects, like the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition and Grow Ohio Valley in Wheeling.

Executive Director and founder of Grow Ohio Valley, Danny Swan, said his organization wants to improve the economy of coal-impacted communities throughout the Northern Panhandle by increasing market opportunities for farmers throughout the region. 

"Wheeling eats 700 million dollars worth of food a year. If Wheeling shifted ten percent of its eating toward products that were grown in and around Wheeling, it would inject 35 million dollars into the economy via local food development."

Other projects receiving funding include Marshall University Research Corporation, which is using the money for a Craft Beer and Spirit Trail project, and the New River Gorge Trail Alliance, to expand an outdoor tourism project centered around outdoor hiking trails.

According to the ARC, the 33 awards are projected to create or retain nearly 1,000 jobs, some of which are designated to go to people in addiction recovery who are trying to reenter the workforce.


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