The town of Haysi and regional trails and tourism groups got big news Monday when Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the three were part of more than $4.9 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grants he is recommending for funding.

The proposed Haysi Trails Center, planned for the old theater building in downtown Haysi, is being recommended for a $500,000 award.

Southwest Regional Recreation Authority, parent to Spearhead Trails, is being recommended for funding for a project called Catalyst for Growth in Developing the Tourism Economy of the Coalfields. Northam recommends funding in the amount of $300,000.

The Virginia Coalfield Regional Tourism Development Authority, also known as the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority, was recommended for $209,590 for the proposed Clinch-Powell-Big Sandy Biodiversity and Conservation Destination Center.

ARC will finalize approval of these project awards later this year.

In total, the governor recommended funding for 20 projects in the Appalachian region of Virginia, which encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities in Southwest Virginia.

The funding awards would expand health care, spur economic development, improve infrastructure and create jobs for the region, Northam said in his announcement.

“Appalachian Regional Commission grants are a vital resource for communities in this important region of our Commonwealth,” he said.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development works with localities and stakeholders in the region to assist in developing strategic projects that are evaluated by DHCD and the Governor.

Other nearby localities and projects recommended for funding include:

• Buchanan County, the Paw Paw Waterline Extension, $500,000;

• Town of St. Paul, Lyric Theater, $200,000;

• Wise County, Banner Sewer Project, $500,000;

• Wise County Industrial Development Authority, $50,000, Expanding Life Saving Healthcare Networks with UAS Technology and Training for Remote Medical Facilities in SWVA Feasibility Study; and

• Wise County IDA, Feasibility of Economic Diversification Through Commercial Graphene Applications, $50,000.

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