Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: April 26, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development: Amanda Love,

Governor Northam Recommends 13 Projects for Appalachian Regional Commission Funding, Totaling $4.1 Million

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.

The following projects are recommended for funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission:

Dungannon Comprehensive Water Improvements
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
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 a 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
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
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
Town of Pulaski

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.

Hamiltontown Sewer Project
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.

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