RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced he is recommending 13 projects for funding by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), totaling $4.1 million for 25 counties and eight independent cities.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission is a key funding tool for addressing the unique challenges facing our Appalachian region. Investing in Appalachia is more important now than ever before as we work to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that no area of the Commonwealth is left behind in our recovery. These 13 projects align with our ongoing efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of all those in our Appalachian communities by creating new economic opportunities, building critical infrastructure, preparing a skilled workforce, and supporting community development.”Gov. Ralph Northam
ARC was established in 1965 and is a federal agency focused on economic development throughout the Appalachian region.
In February, Northam was elected by Appalachia’s 13 governors to serve as ARC’s states’ co-chair for 2021.
ARC grants are aimed at supporting the goal of building a strong and sustainable asset-based economy by funding projects serving as a catalyst for bringing jobs and prosperity to communities along the Appalachian corridor.
The following projects have been recommended to receive funding:
Dungannon Comprehensive Water Improvements – $500,000
- Town of Dungannon
- This project will replace approximately 15,000 linear feet of water system lines and appurtenances, including water line reconnections to an estimated 42 residential and 25 non-residential customers. These improvements will increase accountability and hydraulic efficiencies of the water distribution system.
Project Light – $500,000
- City of Galax
- Project Light will renovate a blighted building in Galax to support nonprofit community services for addiction recovery, job training, and recovery-to-work skills for at least 50 individuals working to maintain sobriety for two years and employment for one year. The facility will also provide literacy and family education services, as well as training and a community soup kitchen with the ability to serve 1,200 meals to the community each week.
Historic Fieldale Recreation Center Restoration Project – $500,000
- Henry County
- This project is the culmination of a regional planning grant that will restore the Fieldale Recreation Center into a multipurpose community center. Once rehabilitated, it will support two full-time businesses as well as the nonprofit, Fieldale Heritage Inc., which provides educational, cultural, and recreational activities.
Russell Theater Restoration Project – $500,000
- Town of Lebanon
- This project will restore and enhance the historic Russell Theater, which will serve as a community facility for downtown Lebanon, and provide two full-time and three part-time jobs.
Calfee Training School Adaptive Reuse – $500,000
- Town of Pulaski
- This project will repurpose a historic African American school into a childcare center, commercial kitchen, digital learning lab, and museum highlighting local Appalachian African American leaders and history. In addition, the project will provide an event space for community use, cultural and educational programming, and small business incubation and meeting spaces. The project will retain 64 full-time jobs and create 17 full-time jobs through the construction of the facility.
Hamiltontown Sewer Project – $438,826
- Wise County
- This project will install 5,540 linear feet of new gravity sewer lines in Wise County’s Hamiltontown community, providing new sewer service to 13 households.
Blackwater Phase II Water Project – $315,000
- Lee County
- This project continues the previously ARC-funded Lee County Blackwater Phase I water system, which will provide new potable public water to 21 households and 46 customers in rural Lee County. The project will install approximately 21,590 linear feet of water distribution lines and related appurtenances to provide water service. At this time, no public water system exists within the project area.
William King Museum of Art – Cultural Campus Phase II Part II – $275,000
- William King Museum
- This project will complete the transformation of the 22-acre historic William King Museum of Art into a safe and accessible destination. With the museum’s completion, this landmark will increase the number of visitors, stimulate economic growth through tourism, and facilitate community engagement.
Dickenson County Public Service Authority – Backbone Ridge – Edwards Ridge Waterline Replacement Project – $267,000
- Dickenson County
- This project will replace undersized and leaking waterlines and provide an adequate and safe water supply to 35 existing homes in the Backbone Ridge community of Dickenson County. In total, the project will install more than 14,000 linear feet of water lines and appurtenances.
LENOWISCO Planning District Commission InvestSWVA Initiative – $200,000
- LENOWSICO Planning District Commission
- This public-private economic development partnership will be focused on implementing existing projects led by InvestSWVA, a proven initiative creating new jobs, investment, and opportunities for communities in Southwest Virginia that have been impacted by the decline of the coal industry. InvestSWVA will continue to identify and target economic development opportunities within the energy, advanced agricultural, and data center sectors for Southwest Virginia.
Reynolds Homestead – Critz Community Enhancement – $51,592
- Reynolds Homestead
- This project is a community-driven program and design study for a community center that will provide a gathering space in Critz, serving Patrick County and the surrounding region. The center will be focused on promoting equity and offering activities that include educational and professional development programs, after-school programs, cultural heritage programs, entrepreneurship training, and health and wellness programs.
FIRST Chesapeake Robotics Workforce Development Programming – $46,250
- FIRST Chesapeake Robotics
- This project will expand on an existing after-school robotics program and create a new initiative for K-12 students to build skills needed in the workforce. FIRST Chesapeake Robotics is a nonprofit organization supporting STEM-based concepts in K-12 schools, providing programming and competition opportunities, financial assistance, scholarships, and support for over 7,000 middle and high school students on 440 afterschool robotics teams throughout Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. ARC funds will cover costs for the robotics team start-ups, team registration fees, travel expenses to competitions, and staff and personnel costs to support the 12-month project contract.
Montgomery Museum of Art and History – $25,000
- Montgomery County
- This project will expand the Montgomery Museum of Art and History to provide more exhibit, event, and research space as well as create new digital and technological infrastructure and improve the care of the collections. The expansion will enhance community engagement, accessibility, diversity, and sustainability of museum programming, supporting the community and economic development efforts of Southwest Virginia.