RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia will receive two grants totaling $3,417,315 from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) program. The grants will go to LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Virginia Community Capital, Inc. to expand and diversify the economy in Virginia’s coal-impacted communities.
“We are very pleased to have additional funding to help leverage the resources in Southwest Virginia and throughout the Appalachia region,” said Governor Northam. “These grants will support efforts to build entrepreneurial ecosystems and expand infrastructure, allowing us to continue growing and diversifying the regional economy and encouraging business development in our Appalachia communities.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER program is a congressionally-funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. With today’s announcements, the Appalachian Regional Commission has invested over $120 million in 149 projects touching 309 counties across Appalachia since 2015, including 15 investments totaling $16.3 million in Virginia.
“Today’s announcement is continued support for the work already underway to create new opportunities for those living in communities hardest hit by changes in the coal industry,” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “These grants are a commitment to long-term diversification and economic growth in Appalachia.”
Virginia Community Capital, Inc. will receive $2.5 million for Impact Appalachia: A Market-Making Fund for Central Appalachia. The project will fill critical capital gaps to strengthen central Appalachia’s economy and accelerate market development for a six-state region (Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia). Impact Appalachia will support business development and advance emerging sectors in the region by acting as an entrepreneurial ecosystem coordinator to increase the region’s readiness and capacity to attract and absorb capital. It will provide grant-like funds to fill critical gaps in the investment pipeline and will serve as an investment vehicle providing capital to investment-ready businesses. It will also launch an impact investment fund that will raise and deploy affordable capital to expand essential infrastructure and invest in job-creating businesses that build local wealth and increase the number of quality jobs. The project is anticipated to improve 15 communities, leverage $111 million of private capital, and create or retain 649 jobs.
LENOWISCO Planning District Commission will receive $917,315 to conduct Project Intersection, a new regional 200-acre industrial site in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia. LENOWISCO will partner with the Norton Industrial Development Authority and Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority in developing the site on abandoned mine land. The Appalachian Regional Commission grant will be paired with a portion of an already awarded grant from the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) pilot program of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Project activities will yield a highly visible, highly desirable, regional industrial and business site. Project Intersection is situated at the junction of U.S. Highways 23 and 58A, with the highest cumulative non-interstate traffic volume in far southwestern Virginia. The development of Project Intersection aids the effort to foster diversification and rejuvenation of the regional economy, luring private investment and new employment opportunities.
“The Appalachian region has continued to explore new and innovative ways to spur economic growth in their communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These grants will continue to assist our communities to build capacity to support entrepreneurs and business development in the region.”
2018 Virginia Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Grantees:
LENOWISCO Planning District Commission
Project Intersection Site Development
Virginia Community Capital, Inc.
Impact Appalachia: A Market-Making Fund for Central Appalachia
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