Highland County Economic Development Authority Challenged To Find Ways To Increase County Population

Monterey, VA – Highland County’s Economic Development Authority received a challenge this week from the group of Virginia Department of Education officials that visited Monterey on Tuesday. Clay Hamilton reports to the EDA members the nature of this challenge.

“The EDA was the responsible authority for making things happen here in Highland County” says Hamilton. “This from the lips of the Secretary of Education; he put the ball directly in the court of the EDA. It’s our responsibility to increase the population of Highland County by bringing business into the county.”

Mr. Hamilton goes on to relate another important point made by the delegation from Richmond.

“There is an extremely small that the composite index as it applies to Highland County is going to be changed to make it favorable for Highland County” he says.

The composite index is part of the formula the state uses to determine the amount of funding for each school system. Mr. Hamilton also notes that the delegation made a third point on Tuesday.

“Our school system is being encouraged to explore and implement virtual learning as a way to make the school more affordable for the county at the current tax rate” he says.

At the invitation of the EDA, Kevin Thornsbury addressed the group regarding his efforts to bring a Subway restaurant to Monterey. After getting his property on the east side of Monterey rezoned, he is now looking at financing alternatives. He says the local banks declined to provide local financing, citing the current economic situation.

“I’ve used a financial solution company that’s affiliated with Subway to shop out the Small Business Administration loan” says Thornsbury. “I’ve got three offers, but the variable rates are too high, the initial fees are too high; they’re not good offers.”

Although his initial efforts have not yet found suitable financing, Mr. Thornsbury is continuing his work to find the money to develop his project.

In other business, Chamber of Commerce director Carolyn Pohowsky had a suggestion for the EDA members regarding how to start the process of getting high school graduates to return to the county in the future.

“Look back over the graduates over the last 10-15 years and find out where they ended up, what skills they’ve developed to end up wherever they did” says Pohowsky. “And would they choose to come back if they opportunity presented itself.”

The next regular meeting of the Highland County Economic Development Authority will be Tuesday June 14 at 7 PM in the Highland Center.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather