Regional Economic Development Expert Tours Highland County

Monterey, VA – The Highland Economic Development Authority and the Highland Center recently hosted Willie Taylor, Regional Director of the Philadelphia Regional Office of the U. S. Economic Development Administration. That office administers programs in Virginia and several northeastern states. Mr. Taylor toured Monterey, visited the school and had lunch at the Highland Center.

He was guest of honor at a reception at the Highland Center where he met with several county residents. Mr. Taylor had some suggestions regarding grant opportunities for helping with the Highland Center renovations.

In other business, Chairperson, Betty Mitchell, reports on the recent activities of the EDA Technology Committee, chaired by Nancy Witschey, to EDA members at their meeting Tuesday evening.

“She and committee members have been meeting with major users of broadband and trying to find out if they find that the coverage is sufficient for their needs” says Mitchell. “Recently, she met with people here in the Highland Center building to try to find out if everything worked as it should, and everybody seemed pretty happy with things. Tomi Herold, representing the library will be filling out a questionnaire soon to talk about their usage and future needs.”

“And they’re scheduling a meeting with the two banks in the near future as well. They met with the school system I think about a month ago.”

Ms. Mitchell continues with comments on the latest developments regarding the Verizon cell phone tower being considered for McDowell.

“The site that they had originally been looking at has placed on hold based on feedback that they got from the [Virginia] Dept of Historic Resources asking them to reduce the towers height because of the proximity to the [Civil War] battlefield and also several neighboring property owners who expressed concern” says Mitchell. “The evaluation at the moment of new potential sites is something that has been taken up internally with Verizon Wireless. Once they know more about the direction they’ll go, they will get in touch with us if there’s anything the EDA can do to help.”

Ms. Mitchell goes on to report on an opportunity to apply for grant funds for purchase of equipment for use at the Allegheny Highlands Agricultural Center.

“About a week ago in a conversation the Highland Center was having with Rural Development we became aware of an opportunity for an application to be submitted to USDA Rural Development under their rural business enterprise grant” she says. “That may offer the opportunity for equipment that would be used at the Allegheny Highlands Ag [Agriculture] Center.”

The EDA voted in favor of a motion to provide a letter of support for the grant application to USDA Rural Development for equipment for the Agricultural Center. The Board of the Allegheny Highlands Agricultural Center is currently negotiating the construction contract and they hope to break ground for the new agricultural center soon.

The report from the EDA Tourism committee included a note from Chairperson Carolyn Pohowsky that the tourism group hopes to have a meeting soon to finalize the tourism promotion plan. She currently anticipates presenting a draft plan for discussion at the August EDA meeting.

Now that Highland Data has closed and left the Blue Grass Ruritan Building, the Ruritans are looking to get a new tenant. The Highland Center staff is assisting the Ruritans in developing a spec sheet for use in advertising that space.

Finally, the EDA approved a motion to support the idea of gift mailboxes for Highland’s graduating seniors. Sarah Harman will get back to the group when a cost estimate for the project is finished.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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