Grants will support efforts to create jobs, improve infrastructure, and provide workforce training in Virginia’s Appalachian region
|RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he is recommending 13 projects for funding by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), totaling $4.1 million in grants. Virginia’s Appalachian region encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities. ARC will finalize approval of these project awards later this year.|
“The Appalachian Regional Commission is a key funding tool for addressing the unique challenges facing our Appalachian region,” said Governor Northam. “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.”
Established in 1965, the ARC is a federal agency focused on economic development throughout the Appalachian region. In February, Governor 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 that serve as catalysts for bringing jobs and prosperity to Appalachian communities while preserving their character.
“ARC funding gives Appalachian communities the flexibility needed to provide targeted assistance in community-identified areas, from improved water systems and community centers to addiction recovery facilities and museums,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These proposed projects will provide wide-ranging opportunities and further the vital work being done to diversify and strengthen the economy and communities of the region.”
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) works with localities and stakeholders in the region to develop strategic projects, which are evaluated by DHCD and the Governor to be recommended to the federal commission for approval. Additional information about the Appalachian Regional Commission is available here.
Among the projects recommended for approval by the ARC is the Calfee Training School Adaptive Reuse project in Pulaski. The Town of Pulaski is seeking $500,000 in ARC funding for the project.
This project will repurpose an 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.