Appalachian Regional Commission funding for 16 projects in Southwest Virginia

~ Sixteen projects directed at economic development, clean and safe water, workforce education and tourism ~

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced today that he has recommended more than $3.1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding for 16 projects in Southwest Virginia. The funds will help support economic development, clean and safe water, workforce education programs, and cultural heritage tourism.

“Each year projects funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission benefit Virginians in Southwest Virginia through increased access to clean water, economic development, educational programs, and healthcare,” Governor Kaine said. “Again I am recommending additional projects to the ARC for consideration that will draw tourism dollars to the region, strengthen the economic development efforts in the region, and create a better quality of life.”

The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works for sustainable community and economic development in Appalachia, assisting the region in achieving economic prosperity that more completely reflects the nation’s overall prosperity. Each year the governor makes funding recommendations to the ARC for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian region.

Projects are awarded in two categories: Area Development Funding (AD) and Asset-Based Development Initiative Funding (ABD). Projects funded through AD are designed to encourage economic development in the region by funding projects such as infrastructure, entrepreneurship support and workforce development. Projects funded through ABD are designed to build a strong and sustainable asset-based economy by bringing jobs and prosperity to Appalachian communities, while preserving their character.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has served as the designated agency for Virginia’s ARC program since its inception in 1965.

“These grants focus on many areas key to the development of a healthy and thriving community,” said Bill Shelton, DHCD director. “The funding of programs targeted toward economic development, infrastructure improvements, cultural heritage tourism and education work together as a comprehensive mix that will enable citizens of Southwest Virginia to enjoy a higher quality of life in a community where they are able to live, work, and do business.”

Projects in the 10th House District include:

Area Development (AD) Funding Awards

Traditional Music of Southwest Virginia Educational Plan
The Crooked Road
Award: $100,000

The project will assess and examine traditional music resources and assets across nine Southwest Virginia counties, create a Traditional Music Education Committee, and develop a comprehensive education plan for incorporating this music into education at all grade levels. The project includes pilot programs in traditional music at two public school systems, youth music programming and the development of a larger youth traditional music event, creation of a traditional music certification program at a community college, and developing standards for traditional music teacher certifications.

Asset-Based Development (ABD) Funding Awards

Establishing and Sustaining a Community Kitchen
Spencer-Penn School Preservation Organization, Inc.
Award: $42,200

This project will establish and staff a certified community kitchen in the Martinsville / Henry County area. This facility will offer educational opportunities and foster entrepreneurship through supporting food based small business start-ups. In doing so it will incubate the development and growth of food based entrepreneurship which is an essential element of sustaining Virginia’s agricultural economy and responding to increased interest and demand in locally grown foods. In the initial year the project is expected to educate approximately 70 students on food safety and handling and business skills; and it will additionally serve at least 5 small businesses which will produce a minimum of $20,000 of marketable products.

DHCD is committed to creating safe, affordable, and prosperous communities to live, work and do business in Virginia. DHCD partners with Virginia’s communities to develop their economic potential, regulates Virginia’s building and fire codes, provides training and certification for building officials, support for Virginia’s homeless, and invests more than $100 million each year into housing and community development projects throughout the state. By partnering with local governments, nonprofit groups, state and federal agencies, and others, DHCD is working to improve the quality of life for Virginians.