Gov. Ralph Northam is recommending approval of nearly $1.86 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grants for projects with a direct impact on our region.

Monday, the governor announced more than $4.9 million in grant recommendations across the Appalachian region of Virginia.

Recommended grants of local interest include:

• Banner sewer project, $500,000.

• Wise County Industrial Development Authority: $50,000 to study the feasibility of using unmanned aerial systems to expand services of “remote medical facilities.”

• Wise County IDA: $50,000 toward ongoing study of potential industrial uses for graphene, a substance that can be produced from coal and other carbon sources.

• Spearhead Trails: $300,000 for expansion of outdoor tourism in the region.

• Coalfield Regional Tourism Development Authority: Nearly $209,600 to develop a Clinch-Powell river biodiversity and conservation center.

• St. Paul: $200,000 for the Lyric Theater project.

• Haysi: $500,000 for a trails center project.

• Lenowisco Planning District Commission $47,551, community development. According to planning district Executive Director Duane Miller, this is to establish a “community foundation” serving the seven coalfield counties and Norton and would “allow for community development projects utilizing philanthropic donations.”

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development works with localities and stakeholders to assist in developing projects that are evaluated by DHCD and the governor, Northam’s Monday release explained.

ARC will finalize approval of the grants later this year, it stated.

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