Highland County EDA’s October 2023 Meeting

The Highland County Economic Development Authority held it’s monthly meeting on October 16.

The EDA voted to send letters of support to Augusta County regarding a proposal for a new Verizon cell tower in West Augusta.  The tower will be located near the intersection of Route 250 and Route 629, which is Deerfield Valley Road.   The letters will go to both Augusta County and to the Augusta County Zoning Board.  A zoning variance has been requested on the project and Augusta County is working to change zoning regulations on setbacks against public property, as the cell tower will back up to the National ForestNo vote is expected on the project until December or January.   The Bath-Highland Network Authority will also be sending letters of support.   It was also reported that in Bath County, two new Verizon cell towers are in the works.

As part of the Remote Worker Attraction Campaign, Letterpress Communications’ work will begin in mid-October and run through June 2024.   A three-month social media campaign will run March through May 2024.

The FY 2024 Incentive Grant Workshop was held on September 29, and it was reported that only one business attended, but other requests had been received for the information that was presented at the workshop.

Two of the FY 2023 Incentive Grant recipients reported at the EDA meeting on their use of the funding for improvements for their businesses.  Rachel Hiner received a $5,000 Incentive Grant for Highland Roots Market and Susanna Baxter received $4,000 for Susanna’s Confections.

Also at the meeting, Malorie Brower was elected to be the EDA’s Secretary.

Highland County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Swecker presented the Tourism Council report to the EDA.  Applications for the Marketing Assistance Grants for local businesses are currently available and are due on October 31.

The Highland County welcome sign at the Confederate Breastworks should be in place by the end of November.  The sign will be two by three feet and will have a QR code that will link to a page at the Chamber’s website, www.highlandcounty.org

Tourism Maps showing points of interest have been updated and have been sent out to organizations and businesses.  The new map features more than 120 attractions.

The Tourism Council is also offering a Trade Show and Festival Advertising Program, where businesses receive $100 per trip when they travel outside of Highland to a festival and display county information and brochures.

The Tourism Council has also taken over, from the Board of Supervisors, the financial ownership of Civil War Trail signage in the county.  The cost is $200 per sign annually.

Story By

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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