Highland County Economic Development Authority’s November Meeting

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

The EDA approved recommending Jeff Perdue as a new member on the Tourism Council.  His name will be sent to the Board of Supervisors for appointment.

The applications for the 2023 Incentive Grants are ready.  Both hard copies and digital copies of the application will be available.  Information and applications can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website, the county website and on the EDA’s Facebook page.  Applications are due January 16, at 5pm.   The Incentive Grants are funded by the Board of Supervisors.  Grants of $2,000 to $5,000 are awarded to small businesses in Highland County to help with start-up or expansion costs.

The EDA has applied for a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to help pay for renovation work at the Highland Inn.  The Implementation Grant, if awarded, would be used to remediate lead paint, asbestos and all hazardous materials from the Inn.   The grant application required a one-to-one match and the grants will be awarded by the DEQ in mid-February.

An update was presented on the Rural Community Development Initiative Remote Work Project, a project aimed at attracting new residents to Highland who have remote work jobs.  Work on branding and messaging is underway for the project through a media company.  The completed work from the company is expected by mid-December.

It was also reported that on the Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant, an extension until the end of February had been requested for a deadline.  The extension will allow the EDA committee to include more information in the overall Planning Grant, such as results from an Economic Impact Analysis that will be completed.    This IRF Planning Grant is being pursued to provide funding for renovation of The Highland Inn.

As part of the Housing Study that is underway through the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, a representative from Virginia Housing in Richmond visited Highland on November 4.  It was reported that Virginia Housing could help with planning grants to develop more housing options and, also, assist landowners that may be interested in subdividing any property.  The Housing Study is evaluating the shortage of available housing in both Bath and Highland Counties.

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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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