Highland County Economic Development Authority’s March Meeting

At the Highland County Economic Development Authority’s March meeting, Brandon Smith, a recipient of a 2019 EDA Incentive Grant, reported on how he used the grant money to improve his business.  He operates Smith’s Tree and Brush Management and said he bought various pieces of equipment that increased safety and productivity for his business.  He also used the money for marketing to reach out to surrounding areas.  Smith said the funding was a big help to his business.

EDA Economic Development Officer Betty Mitchell reported that the Transient Occupancy Tax money had been received from the county and the Tourism Council received a check for $23,240.90.

The EDA voted to approve sending a letter of support for a Go Virginia Grant application.  Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is applying for the grant for a training center and for a possible 3D printing business, which will recycle the filament.   The project will connect to Bath County.   The EDA voted to have Mitchell draft a general letter of support for the EDA’s review.

Mitchell also reported that Lantz Construction’s proposal for interior demolition at the Highland Inn is being fine-tuned.   The Blue Grass Resource Center plans on reviewing the proposal shortly, so interior demolition will begin soon.

It was reported that Highland Telephone Cooperative has broken ground in the Little Egypt area for the Fiber to the Home project for Mill Gap.  Plans are to hopefully have homes connected by fall.

EDA member Bryan Obaugh reported on Tourism Council work.  He said no one from the EDA came up with language for advertising support of businesses for the weekends when Maple Festival is usually held.   He also said he discussed an awareness campaign for those weekends with the Tourism Council, but no action was taken on it.

There are six applications for the EDA’s 2020 Incentive Grant Program.  The subcommittee of EDA members Jessica Glendenning, Kirk Billingsley and George Hogshead plan closed meetings to review the applications on March 24 and 25 from 5 to 7pm.  At the next monthly meeting of the EDA on April 19, the subcommittee will have recommendations and the full EDA membership will review and will vote on the applications.

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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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