ARC grants to be awarded

If awarded, the ARC grant will help the Adams County Libraries upgrade their outdated computer systems. (Photo by Patricia Beech)

Federal funds will allow tech upgrades, repairs across Adams County – 

By Patricia Beech – 

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), in partnership with the Adams County Office of Economic Development (ACOED), has chosen three area agencies as contenders for the 2019 Distressed Counties Program grants.
According to Holly Johnson, Director of ACOED, the five local entities eligible for ARC grants include: the Adams County Public Library, the Southern Ohio Medical Center, the Adams County NG 911 system, the ACRWD Rigdon Road/Logan’s Lane Water Line Replacement, and the Village of Manchester US 52 Streetscape.
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local governments. The Commission focuses its funding on areas of greatest need in the Appalachian region, including areas that are ranked as “distressed”
Johnson says winning the ARC grants is “one time being a distressed county works in our favor.”
“ARC has been an outstanding source of funds for doing infrastructure and a multitude of other projects in our area,” she said. “It’s been a real lifeline for us.”
If awarded, funding from the ARC grants will purchase new computers and devices for the local libraries; acquire a stationary 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Unit for the Southern Ohio Medical Center; completely upgrade the county’s 911 emergency system to respond to both calls and texts; repair the Logan’s Lane/Rigdon Road waterline to improve flow; and construct a sidewalk along SR 52 in the village of Manchester.
“The trickle down effect of this grant is powerful,” says Johnson. “It provides us with state-of-the-art equipment like a mammography unit, which also employs a citizen of Adams County to operate it.”
Johnson said that income levels and workforce development figure heavily into how the grants are awarded.
“With the president’s new workforce development initiative, those applicants who were most likely to permanently employ someone as a result of being awarded the grant were scored higher, as were areas in the county where the median income level is below 51 percent,” she said.
Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.
According to their website, ARC invests in activities that address the five goals identified in the Commission’s strategic plan:
Goal 1- Economic Opportunities: Invest in entrepreneurial and business development strategies that strengthen Appalachia’s economy; Goal 2 – A Ready Workforce: Increase the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia; Goal 3: Invest in critical infrastructure—especially broadband; transportation, including the Appalachian Development Highway System and water/wastewater systems; Goal 4 – Natural and Cultural Assets: Strengthen Appalachia’s community and economic development potential by leveraging the region’s natural and cultural heritage assets; and Goal 5 – Leadership and Community Capacity: Build the capacity and skills of current and next-generation leaders and organizations to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development.
Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred investments in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.
“We play a role in that,” says Johnson. “We help to keep everything state-of-the-art for our local facilities that also employ more people by doing so. It takes the burden off them so they can provide more services to their clients.”