Highland County Economic Development Authority’s March Meeting

The Highland County Economic Development Authority held it’s monthly meeting on March 21.

Since it’s last meeting in February, two EDA members have resigned, Valerie Lowry and Henry Budzinski.    The EDA is accepting applications to fill the two open seats.  Information and the application can be found at www.highlandcova.org, click on Government.

EDA member Jamie Collins reported on the RCDI grant.  There are four groups working together on this project – the Chamber, The Highland Center, the EDA and the Tourism Council.  Collins said they will be applying for a $30,000 planning grant to work on developing elements of resident attraction and creating work from home support.  Part of this includes plans to have a work center at The Highland Center to help people work from home.

EDA Economic Development Officer Betty Mitchell reported on The Highland Inn renovation project. Partial funding in the amount of $27,500 has been awarded from the Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant.  It is to be used for getting drawings and plans in place for the renovation.  The EDA had applied for $100,000 from the Planning Grant.  The application for a full IRF grant for construction is now due in late July instead of late June, since the schedule on the application process has been revised.  For the IRF grant, the EDA is the applicant and the Blue Grass Resource Center, the Inn’s owner, is writing the grant and completing requirements.  For the IRF Planning Grant, the EDA voted to have member Kirk Billingsley sign off on reimbursable invoices and voted to have Chairman George Hogshead sign the Memorandum of Understanding.

The EDA also approved applying for a DEQ grant that could provide funding to be used for remediation of asbestos and lead paint inside of The Highland Inn during the next phase of renovation.

The EDA adopted the county’s Electronic Communications Policy, which allows EDA members to participate in meetings remotely twice a year, if needed.  This is the same policy approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Monterey Town Council.

The EDA was asked by the Highland County Recreation Commission to supply letters of support for two grants the Recreation Commission is applying for through the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.  EDA members discussed needing more information on these grants and projects, and also for others in the future, in order to issue letters of support.  The EDA agreed to ask Recreation Commission members attend the EDA’s April meeting to provide more information.

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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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