Economic Development Authority of Highland County March Meeting Recap

The regular meeting of the Highland County EDA was Monday, March 18 at the Highland Center. This meeting served as a recap after the maple festival and provided a variety of brief updates for the community in regards to the work the EDA is currently undertaking.

Minutes from the last meeting, as well as the treasurer’s report, were approved unanimously by the board at the first of the meeting. Several committees and organizations did not hold meetings in March due to the two weeks of the maple festival, so reports for the Tourism Council, HDCI committee, and Bath Highland Network Authority will be given at the next meeting. 

In new business, Betty Mitchell asked for a formal recognition from the EDA to observe Obaugh Funeral Home’s 100th year in business. This was unanimously approved and will be presented at the commemoration event at the Highland Center on Saturday, March 23. The Obaugh family was also recognized for their long-standing commitment to the people of Highland and surrounding counties through a letter from Congressman Ben Cline addressed to Wilma Hodge Obaugh. 

Jay Langston of Shenandoah Valley Partnership will be present at the April meeting of the Highland County EDA. Board members, as well as members of the community, were also urged to attend the quarterly meeting of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to get an overview of what their partnership with the EDA does for the Highland community. This will take place April 3 and registration is available online at

Mitchell also mentioned the Virginia Department of Ag and Consumer Services 2024 Spring AFID Infrastructure Grant Round that opens March 25. The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) Infrastructure Grant Program is focused on awarding reimbursable grants primarily for capital projects at new and existing food hubs, farmers’ markets, commercial kitchens, and other value-added facilities such as those used for processing and packaging meats, dairy products, produce, or other Virginia-grown products. More information is available at

Landdis Hollifield, Highland County’s Economic Recovery Corps Fellow, updated the board mentioning that she continues to meet with community leaders face-to-face and make notes to help develop strategies into a strategic plan. She wants to give an action and an outcome with a timeline, not just a paragraph on the page, which would better flesh out the goals of the HCDI strategic plan. 

There was no public comment at the meeting. Board comments, however, touched on Landmark Communications’ remote work marketing initiative, which has yet to launch. The company is working on a landing page and will commence social media marketing with a 90-day blitz period once the campaign is approved. Hollifield explained a bit how these ads would be targeted, noting that residents would not really see them, but the ads will be focused on geofencing methods for those who visit Highland or have an affinity for outdoor adventures, as well as backend metrics from the Chamber of Commerce website.

Jamie Collins gave a report on  the followup meeting with the planning district for the contentious housing study. She felt that the planning district had  heard the comments the board and community members voiced, and had and removed a lot of regulations, replacing them instead with incentives. There is not a further refined draft, but Collins noted that she felt things were moving in the right direction.  

Mitchell and Hollifield attended the Virginia Economic Developers Association conference in March and reported making many connections with partners and the 360+ attendees.

The next meeting of the Highland County EDA will be April 15 at 7 p.m. in the Highland Center.

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Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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