W.Va. Governor Recommends Appalachian Regional Commission Help Fund Water and Economic projects

Aug 21, 2019

On Monday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice shared his recommendations for the next round of Appalachian Regional Commission projects in the state. 

The ARC is a partnership between the federal government and the 13 Appalachian states. The agency awards federal dollars for infrastructure and economic development projects across the region.

Justice’s recommendations total $9.4 million for 13 projects throughout the state’s most “distressed communities,” as designated by the ARC. 

McDowell County stands to gain the most from Justice’s recommendations. A statement from the governor’s office proposes giving groups in the county a total of $3 million that would fund water and sewage infrastructure projects, as well as other economic development and recovery initiatives.

That includes $1.8 million toward a public sewer system in Iager and $1 million for sewer upgrades in Bradshaw. The McDowell County Public Service District could receive an additional $160,000 to work on opening a sewer system. 

The governor also recommends giving about $1.5 million each to the towns of Pine Grove in Wetzel County, Sand Fork in Gilmer County and Kenova in Wayne County, for sewer extensions and water line upgrades. 

Justice asks that the ARC give Clay County $780,000 to replace its water tank, and that it give the Pocahontas County Public Service District $600,000 for a sewer extension.

These water projects tend to serve anywhere from 90 to 330 customers, according to the statement. Most of the projects also include one or two nonresidential customers (like a school, or a business). 

Justice’s proposal also includes $76,000 to help the state’s simulated workplace program for West Virginia students, to give them professional workplace skills in the classroom. 

Boone County might receive about $36,000 for a substance abuse fellowship project, to hire a fellow that can improve the area’s “Fresh Start” program, which gives education and training in agricultural skills to people recovering from substance abuse.

Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.