The statewide GO Virginia board has approved more than $120,000 in grants for a regional economic development coordinating job and a solar energy initiative.

At its June 24 meeting, the state board approved a total of nine regional projects totaling more than $1.1 million.

Of local interest are these:

• A $50,000 grant was approved for the Lenowisco Planning District Commission on behalf of the Lonesome Pine Rural Industrial Facilities Authority. 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.

• More than $70,900 will go 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 will go toward developing a “playbook” for solar energy jobs, manufacturing and utility-scale investment in the region.

"We are thrilled and honored to receive funding support from GO Virginia," said Adam Wells of Appalachian Voices. "The Solar Playbook will identify the specific pathways to leverage Southwest Virginia's assets to grow a locally-rooted solar industry, and provide local leaders with the tools they need to convert the vast opportunity in our region into jobs for our residents while attracting outside investments.”

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