Highland County Board of Supervisors April Meeting – Part 2

This is part two of coverage from the Highland County Board of Supervisors meeting held on April 5th.

The Board heard a presentation by Robbie Huff from MGW on the company’s progress on high-speed broadband installation.  Installation is now ongoing since two grants have been received, one in partnership with Augusta County, and the second in partnership with Bath County.  The first grant project included installation for about 200 homes on Cowpasture River Road South to the Route 250 area.   Huff said the next installation area includes Bullpasture River Road and the Davis Run area.  In response to questions about some areas not receiving installation, Huff said MGW doesn’t make the decision about where to install, it is dictated by grant requirements.   Huff said with the second grant, eventually all areas will receive installation.  He also reported that the drive by Wi-Fi areas set up in response to Covid are still active.  These are located at the payphones in Headwaters and in McDowell and also at the Stonewall Ruritan building in McDowell.

Betty Mitchell, the Economic Development Officer for the EDA, also gave a presentation.  She said, as part of a three-year program, the Department of Housing and Community Development has been working on community and economic development work with the EDA, the Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Council and The Highland Center.   She said Highland is one of six communities in Virginia that that has been funded through a USDA program, the Rural Community Development Initiative.  As a part of that, the group is moving ahead with projects, such as resident attraction.  Mitchell said a grant application for $30,000 was just submitted to be used for formalizing the connections between the county’s groups and lodging facilities.  This could help create a strategy for The Highland Center to bring mid-week business to the community with use of it’s retreat and conference space.  It would also help with the development of a remote work pilot program, as part of strategies to attract new residents.  Mitchell said people are looking to move to rural areas since the pandemic and many can bring their jobs with them.  In addition, concerning Highland Inn restoration, the EDA recently received a grant of $27,500 as part of an Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant.  The grant money will be used to finalize interior structural design, identify an operator, update financials and get the rest of the funding strategies for renovation.

The Board set a joint public hearing with VDOT for it’s May 3rd meeting.  The public hearing will be for the upcoming six-year Rural Rustic Road Program.     Alvin Trout from VDOT also gave an update on VDOT activities.  He said crews are getting stone out on unpaved roads and the mowing program will start in mid-May.  VDOT also has a request out for an estimate for guardrail on Route 220 near the rock wall and patching will begin on secondary roads, when the weather gets warmer.

To hear part one of this story from the Highland County Board of Supervisors meeting, visit our website www.alleghenymountainradio.org

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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