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Northam recommends seven SW Va. projects for ARC funding

Staff report • Jul 2, 2020 at 10:00 PM

RICHMOND — Seven infrastructure and economic development programs in far Southwest Virginia have gotten final recommendation for $2.37 million in federal Appalachian Regional Commission funding.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the recommendations Wednesday as part of $4.2 million for 17 projects submitted to the ARC for approval. Among the projects are three in Lee County, one in Norton that also involves Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties, one in Wise County and two regional projects. The projects will be reviewed for final awards later in 2020.

“ARC grants are an important funding tool for many communities in the Appalachian region of our commonwealth,” Northam said Wednesday. “Investing in infrastructure, our workforce, and economic and community development are essential components of our COVID-19 recovery, especially in rural Virginia. This funding will help us build on the region’s strengths, address its challenges, and drive growth and opportunity throughout Appalachia.”

Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, and state Sen. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon, released a joint statement Wednesday applauding the grants.

“Securing federal dollars from ARC for infrastructure is critical,” Kilgore and Pillion wrote. “These federal dollars support state efforts to invest in infrastructure, our workforce, and economic and community development.”

Kilgore and Pillion credited the LENOWISCO Planning District and the state Department of Housing and Community Development for working on the grants.’

“This is a significant investment in our area that makes our communities stronger and provides a foundation for growth into the future,” the legislators added. “These funds will support our water and sewer infrastructure, combat opioid use disorder, and add workforce capacity in Southwest Virginia.”

The Lee County projects include:

— $500,000 for the county Public Service Authority for St. Charles water line replacement

— $218,027 for the Fields community Phase Two water line replacement in Ewing to serve 36 customers

— $50,000 for the Pennington Gap Business Center for the Trades entrepreneurship program

In Wise County, the county’s Public Service Authority has been recommended for $500,000 for the Glamorgan sewer line project to serve an estimated 62 residential customers.

The city of Norton was tapped for $400,000 for the Project Intersection industrial/commercial site development project — a joint endeavor of the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority. If approved, the funds would go to installation of water and sewer line and broadband fiber infrastructure to a site being developed at a soon-to-be removed mine highwall. Wise, Lee, Dickenson and Scott counties and Norton make up the authority.

The LENOWISCO Planning District Commission’s Amelioration Strategic Development Plan is recommended for $48,000 to develop a fully comprehensive ecosystem of recovery for individuals with opioid use disorder.

The Virginia Community Capital Entrepreneurial Ecosystem made Northam’s list of recommendations for a $197,592 grant. This project is designed to support in-person local business competitions and workshops in Southwest Virginia, as well as offer revolving loan fund support services to complement existing local, regional and economic development efforts to grow and strengthen new and existing businesses. Thirty businesses will be served, and 15 will be improved.

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