Grants awarded for Mingo revitalization


By Courtney Pigman - [email protected]



Shown above from left to right are Brandon Dennison Executive Director of Coalfield Development, Don Perdue, Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Jay Williams U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Leasha Johnson Executive Director of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, and Earl Gohl Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.


By Courtney Pigman

[email protected]

WILLIAMSON – U.S Representative Evan Jenkins, U.S. Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams, and other state and federal officials gathered Friday, Oct. 15 at the Innovation Hub in downtown Williamson to announce more than $1.5 million for grants for Southern W.Va. communities hurt by the decline of the coal mining industry.

“Southern West Virginia has been hard hit by the war on coal. Everywhere I go, I see small towns and families suffering as coal production drops and our coal mines close. I will always fight to secure investments for our communities, but the best way to jump start our economy is to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s policies that have decimated our way of life. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I fought successfully to include funding to redevelop abandoned mines and spur economic growth. I will continue to stand up for the people of West Virginia as a member of Congress and push to block efforts to regulate our coal jobs out of existence,” Rep. Jenkins said.

“We are going to try to get coal back on its feet each and every day,” Jenkins continued.

Rep. Jenkins joined with Earl Gohl, Federal Co- chair, from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Jay Williams from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to announce two of the grants at the Williamson Health and Wellness Center.

Jay Williams spoke at the Innovation Hub Friday saying, “We are here to mark a significant milestone to celebrate and acknowledge the investments and

progress that are occurring in these communities. Just yesterday, U.S Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced 36 awards totally nearly $15 million awarded under the POWER Initiative. POWER is an acronym for the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization.”

Two of the 36 awards went to local organizations to help revitalize the local economy.

A $600,000 EDA grant was awarded to the Coalfield Development Corporation in Wayne for the Regional Economic Diversification Project. The project will support increased agricultural production on surface mine sites. It will also provide job training and mentorship for farmers to help develop a local food economy and promote healthy diets and lifestyles. This a joint program with the Williamson Health and Wellness Center.

Don Perdue, member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and Executive Director of the Wayne County Economic Development Authority said, “We have 600,000 reasons to wake up. We are going to wake up and we are dreaming big.”

A $75,000 ARC grant was awarded to the Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson for the Health Innovation and Food Hub. The grant will fund the start up of the Health Innovation and Food Hub, which will promote local farming efforts, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and promote healthy diets and lifestyles. This is a joint program with the Coalfield Development Corporation.

Dr. Donovan Beckett, CEO of the Williamson Health and Wellness Center said, “We are excited for the opportunity to keep growing.”

Leasha Johnson, Executive Director for the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority said, “The coal companies that have provided for our past our providing for our future.”

The House Appropriation Committee’s Fiscal Year 2016 Interior Appropriations bill includes $30 million for a pilot program in Appalachia to redevelop abandoned mine lands and spur economic growth. This pilot program will allow W.Va. and surrounding states to test the program.

(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)

Shown above from left to right are Brandon Dennison Executive Director of Coalfield Development, Don Perdue, Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Jay Williams U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Leasha Johnson Executive Director of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, and Earl Gohl Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
http://williamsondailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_power16crop.jpgShown above from left to right are Brandon Dennison Executive Director of Coalfield Development, Don Perdue, Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Jay Williams U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Leasha Johnson Executive Director of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, and Earl Gohl Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

By Courtney Pigman

[email protected]

(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)

(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)

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