J.D. Davidson | The Center Square
The state of Ohio released new guidelines on how it plans to spend $500 million in revitalization efforts in the state’s 32-county Appalachian region.
The program, according to Gov. Mike DeWine, will use $30 million for project planning and technical assistance, while the remaining $470 million is expected to be used for development projects.
“There has never been a better time to live in Ohio, and we’re making sure that our Appalachian communities also experience the economic growth that we’re seeing across the state,” DeWine said. “This half-a-billion-dollar investment, which is long overdue, is an investment in the future of Appalachia and the future of each and every Ohioan who calls this region home.”
The guidelines spell out eligible projects and eligible applicants, which must be exclusively within the 32-county region. Local governments or government-related entities, along with educational institutions and nonprofits, can all serve as lead applicants.
The projects must include components from three funding priorities, including:
- Infrastructure; such as Main Street or downtown redevelopment, improvements to multi-community connecting trails, significant outdoor community space, links to community arts, history and culture, access to telemedicine.
- Workforce; such as public-private partnerships designed to build and coordinate technical, educational, clinical and workforce infrastructure.
- Healthcare; such as investments in school or community-based services to address children’s physical and behavioral health needs or plans to address substance use disorder.
“The great thing about this program is it empowers local leaders to get creative and craft plans that will drive real, meaningful change at the grassroots level,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development.
Guidelines for the grant program were developed by lawmakers and stakeholders, DeWine said.