Highland County EDA’s September Meeting

The Highland County Economic Development Authority held it’s monthly meeting on September 19.

EDA members discussed the fiscal year 2023 Incentive Grant Program.  Kirk Billingsley, Dail Fields and Jamie Collins are the EDA members on the Incentive Grant Committee that will review the applications.  There was discussion about a previous suggestion to include the following additional questions on the application: Is the business full time or part time?  If it is a part time business, is it for supplemental income, does it provide a sustainable job or is it trying to grow into a full time business?  Also, under consideration is how to apply points for those additional questions when scoring the applications.  The EDA plans to continue this discussion at next month’s meeting.

It was reported that the Tourism Council had completed it’s Strategic Plan goals and submitted them as part of the Rural Community Development Initiative project.  Also, the Tourism Council is offering Marketing Assistance Grants for businesses both this fall and next spring, with $4,000 available for the grants for each of those two grant cycles.

An update was presented on the RCDI Remote Work project.  A meeting with a representative from Housing and Community Development was held and the EDA’s RCDI committee has received a synopsis from that meeting on work that is now being done to create a strategic plan for the project.  Plans have also been made for future advertising for resident attraction.

As part of the ongoing Regional Housing Study, a focus group meeting will be held on October 13 at The Highland Center.   The study is being done by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission to determine the availability of affordable housing in Highland.

There was an update on the grants that are available for small businesses being offered by Go Virginia, through the Small Business Development Center.  The grants are available for existing businesses.   They provide technical assistance to help with business growth and focus on one of three areas:  eCommerce and marketing, financial or operations.

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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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