Highland County Economic Development Authority October Meeting
The Highland County Economic Development Authority met October 19th and set the timeline for the 2021 Incentive Grant Program. Applications will be available November 1, will be due by January 31, 2021 and decisions on grant awards will be made at the EDA’s April 2021 meeting. Bryan Obaugh said there is interest in the Incentive Grant Program, since businesses may qualify for these grants that didn’t qualify for the Emergency Business Grants through the CARES Act funding.
George Hogshead reported on efforts to get cell service in the McDowell area. He had communicated with AT&T regarding potential interest on a cell tower and AT&T replied that they had no interest in locating there, even if the county built the tower. Hogshead will continue to talk with other cell providers.
Betty Mitchell provided an update on the Highland Inn renovation work. Porches are being built back and the roof over the porches will be completed shortly. So far about $18,000 has been raised towards the $50,000 matching grant. The matching grant challenge is open until the end of the year. Grants are also being explored for phase two of renovation.
Bryan Obaugh reported that work is continuing on plans to place a kiosk and welcome signage at the breastworks on Shenandoah Mountain. Plans are to move ahead with the project in the spring.
And there was an update on the Shenandoah Valley Partnership virtual forum held October 13th. The forum was based at the Highland Center. More than eighty people were on the call and learned about the new Maple Syrup Trail, renovation on the Highland Inn and work done by the area’s Broadband Authority. It was reported that the forum was a great way for Highland to be showcased and to spread the word about things happening in the county.