An economic development coordinating job and a solar energy initiative have made the first cut for more than $120,000 in grant funds.

The GO Virginia Region One Council approved the recommendations May 7. They must now go to the statewide GO Virginia council for final approval.

A $50,000 grant was approved for the Lenowisco Planning District Commission on behalf of the Lonesome Pine Rural Industrial Facilities Authority. If approved, the funds will help support a 24-month position for a project coordinator.

The coordinator will work on Project Intersection, which will develop an industrial site near the intersection of U.S. 23 and U.S. 58A at Norton, and Project Homestead, which aims to attract new residents by offering property rights in a community based around sustainable farming.

The regional authority includes the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise and Dickenson, and the city of Norton.

The council also approved more than $70,900 in funds to Appalachian Voices on behalf of the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia, a collaborative effort of county governments, school districts, community colleges, planning districts, state agencies, industry, nonprofits and citizens. The money would go toward developing a “playbook” for solar energy jobs, manufacturing and utility-scale investment in the region.

The two proposals will be submitted to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the support organization for the GO Virginia State Board, for evaluation and administrative approval.

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