Highland County EDA’s February Meeting

The Highland County Economic Development Authority held it’s monthly meeting on February 20.

The EDA approved it’s budget request to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for the 2023-2024 county budget.  The EDA’s request is the same amount as this year, $2,500 for operating expenses and $20,000 for Incentive Grants.

The EDA went into closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss and vote on the 2023 Incentive Grant applications.  In that closed session, the Incentive Grant Committee planned to made recommendations on the nine grant applications that were received.  Those who were awarded grants will be notified before the names are released.

It was reported that the Bath-Highland Network Authority is still working to get a provider willing to build a cell tower in Bath or Highland.  There is a location in the Millboro area in the process of being permitted now with Verizon.

The EDA voted to move its file cabinet from the courthouse basement to Betty Mitchells’ office on Main Street.  The file cabinet contains all EDA records and Mitchell, who is the Economic Development Officer for the EDA, wanted to have access to it at all times instead of only when the courthouse was open.

Betty Mitchell reported that the IRF Planning Grant is coming to a close and, as part of that, work is ongoing to find an operator for The Highland Inn.  The grant is being submitted to seek funding for renovation of the Inn.

Betty Mitchell also reported that as part of the Regional Housing Study, an application is being made through the Virginia Department of Housing for a grant to create housing at a specific property in Monterey.  The Regional Housing Study is working to address the lack of affordable housing in the area and is working to make housing more available.

In response to a suggestion on replacing the welcome signs coming into Monterey, it was explained that the Virginia Tourism Corporation has grant money available and it is being reviewed to see if it can be used for new signs.

It was also reported that the Tourism Council is preparing for it’s spring grant cycle to provide marketing funds for local businesses.  The grants are offered twice a year and are funded by the county’s Transient Occupancy tax.   The grant will be open for applications in late March and $4,000 in funding will be available.

Representatives from the Shenandoah Valley Partnership will speak at the EDA meeting on Monday, April 17 and will meet with the school system that day.  They will also be available to meet with any established businesses in the area.  The Shenandoah Valley Partnership serves as an advocate for existing business expansion and regional workforce development efforts.

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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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