Highland County Economic Development Authority’s April Meeting

The Highland County Economic Development Authority held it’s monthly meeting on April 25.

An update was presented on the Rural Community Development Initiative grant that the Highland EDA has received.  An allocation of $30,000 of project money has been given from that grant and $10,600 of it will be used for the Remote Work Project, to attract new residents who work remotely for their jobs.  Also, $19,400 of the money will be used to develop a Strategic Plan, to ensure that key stakeholders foster an environment to entice younger people to live and work in Highland.  That plan will include work to strengthen community partnerships, establish procedures to attract visitors and residents, identify resources to help renovate and re-open The Highland Inn to support area businesses, promote tourism opportunities and attract remote worker residents.

Work is getting underway on that Remote Work Pilot Program.  By late May, plans are to have information and data collected from talking with stakeholders in the community, including current remote workers.  The EDA wants to identify those who are currently working remotely in Highland to get their input.  If you are a remote worker and want to participate by sharing your experiences, email highlandeda@htcnet.org

Work continues on The Highland Inn renovation project.  An Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant was received to be used for getting drawings and plans in place for the renovation.  Work is ongoing to collect information for the next step, which is the application for an infrastructure grant to do the renovation work.

The EDA currently has two open seats.  Two applications have been received, from Aaron Thaler and Dan Kauffman, but due to recent email glitches many EDA members had not yet received the applications.   The EDA tabled action on the applications until its next meeting.

An update was presented on the Highland Recreation Commission’s plans for grant applications.  The Recreation Commission is submitting one grant through the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.  The grant will help the Recreation Commission put together a strategic plan.  If the grant is received, the Recreation Commission will make a presentation to the EDA about work on the plan.

It was also reported that the Bath-Highland Network Authority is changing it’s focus from broadband improvements to cell coverage.  The Authority requested the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative funding with MGW and since that grant was received, broadband coverage will be completed.  The Authority feels work should now focus on achieving better cell coverage in the area.

And Patti Hrovat was appointed as the EDA secretary.

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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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