August 19, 1998

Lila White
(804) 692-3110

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Gilmore Announces Two Economic Development Projects to Aid Southwest Virginia

Abingdon - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced two projects to aid Southwest Virginia's economic development efforts. The first of which, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Entrepreneurship Initiative Grants Program, is a small business development program providing $390,140 in grants to the region.

The second project concerns the $3 million regional industrial park development fund approved during the 1998 General Assembly session to be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Due to concerns that these funds would only help one or two regions, Governor Gilmore directed DHCD to include a planning component that will provide $250,000 for site identification, selection, and preliminary engineering studies necessary for future development of regional industrial sites or parks in distressed regions. With grants of up to $40,000, an additional eight to ten regions of Virginia will benefit from the program.

"All citizens from all regions of the Commonwealth should enjoy the benefits of our economic prosperity," Governor Gilmore said. "I truly believe that these two programs will aid the economic development efforts of this region so that we can move into the 21st century as one Virginia."

Governor Gilmore today designated $390,140 of ARC funds for ten new projects in the region. Within three years, nearly 60 small, entrepreneurial businesses and 50 home-based businesses will be started or sustained, generating jobs and income for Southwest Virginia. The following are the ten projects:

$50,000 to the Highland Center for the Highland Country Market.
$50,000 to the Wise Skills Center for a new computer assembly and repair program.
$47,500 to the Clinch Powell Sustainable Development Initiative for a sustainable wood products center.
$45,000 to People, Incorporated, for the Appalachian Partnership Project.
$36,575 to Narrows Town for the business assistance for small business entrepreneurs program.
$25,000 to the New River Valley Development Corporation for the New River Valley entrepreneurial development fund.
$45,100 to the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth for its Virginia REAL program.
$30,965 to Smyth County for the Smyth Enterprise Center.
$25,000 to Virginia Economic Bridge for the Peter Fitzpatrick Entrepreneurship Award.
$35,000 to the Mountain Empire Regional Business Incubator, Inc. for regional small business incubator development.

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