MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Eastern Panhandle could be on the receiving end of part of 18 million dollars in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants for 11 projects across the state.

Governor Jim Justice this week announced more than $18 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grant funding recommendations for 11 projects across West Virginia.

Projects recommended for ARC funding include one in the Eastern Panhandle:

Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority — $49,483
MRB Air Cargo Market Demand and Feasibility Study
The project will increase economic development in the eastern panhandle region of West Virginia (Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson Counties) by conducting an air cargo feasibility study for the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and an industry sector market analysis for the James Rumsey Technical Institute’s entrepreneurship center.

Statewide, projects include the following:

WV Rural Water Association — $187,392
Infrastructure Circuit Rider Project
The project will provide funding for a drinking water and wastewater circuit rider to provide technical assistance to water and wastewater systems in the state. The circuit rider will provide assistance and consultation to local utilities in areas such as leak detection work, preventing inflow and infiltration, utility finance and management, water and wastewater system operations, and loan servicing. The project will enable local utilities to address critical issues without having to hire additional staff and promote more efficient operation and management of existing systems.

Lincoln County
Hamlin Public Service District — $3,325,000
Hamlin Sewer Replacement and Upgrade
The project will upgrade the existing storm water and sewer system in the Hamlin area of Lincoln County. In addition, the project will extend sewer service to the Lincoln County Business Park. The existing system currently experiences high rates of inflow and infiltration and is beyond its useful life. The project will benefit 678 existing customers and expand economic development opportunities in the area by extending sewer service to the business park.

Barbour County
Town of Junior — $1,452,000
Junior Water System Improvements
The project will upgrade the existing water distribution system in the Town of Junior in Barbour County, including replacing water lines, valves, water meters, and fire hydrants. Many of the Town’s water lines are at the end of their useful life and require frequent maintenance to repair breaks and leaks. The project will benefit 396 existing customers

Webster County
Cowen Public Service District — $3,000,000
Birch River Route 82 Water Extension
The project will extend public water service to 60 new customers along Route 82 in Webster County. Customers in the project area rely upon unreliable private wells that run dry or contain high levels of contaminants. The project will provide residents in the area with a source of safe and reliable water and fire service protection.

Braxton County
Flatwoods-Canoe Run PSD — $2,575,000
Holly Gray Park Sewer Extension
The project extends sewer service to 79 new customers along WV Route 15 between the communities of Flatwoods and Sutton in Braxton County. Currently customers in the area utilize individual septic systems that are failing or discharge directly into nearby streams. The project will also upgrade wastewater facilities at Holly Gray Park, a county owned park that includes recreational and camping amenities. The project increases quality of life for local residents, improves stream quality, and enhances outdoor recreation development in the area.

Wetzel County
City of New Martinsville — $800,800
AAA Mobile Home Water System Improvements
The project will install a new water distribution system in the AAA Mobile Home Park located in the Steelton area of New Martinsville. The current water distribution system in the park is antiquated and has experienced numerous line breaks and leakage. In addition, the current layout of the distribution system does not afford efficient access for operation, maintenance, and repairs of the system. The project will improve access and service and benefit 240 new customers.

Mingo County
City of Williamson — $4,200,000
Williamson Water System Upgrade
The project will upgrade the water treatment, storage, and distribution system in the City of Williamson in Mingo County. Currently, the system’s storage capacity is insufficient for existing customers and inhibits economic expansion in the area. Operations and maintenance costs are also high due to aging and failing equipment. The project increases water storage capacity and efficiencies in the city’s system and benefits 1,742 existing customers.

Roane County
Walton Public Service District — $2,000,000
Walton Sewer Project
The project will construct a wastewater treatment plant and collection system to serve approximately 115 residential and commercial customers in the Walton area of Roane County, including Walton Elementary School. The project area currently has raw sewage discharging into nearby waterways, and the lack of public sewer inhibits the development of local housing and businesses.

West Virginia Department of Economic Development — $220,000
Consolidated Technical Assistance
The West Virginia Department of Economic Development (WVDED), with ARC funding assistance, will continue the Consolidated Technical Assistance program. The grant allows WVDED to employ staff for providing technical assistance to ARC applicants and grantees, monitoring and administering ongoing projects, drafting and implementing the West Virginia Development Plan, and operating the West Virginia Main Street and ON TRAC programs.

West Virginia Development Office — $250,000
Competitive Improvement Program
The project will provide training and consultation services to small and medium-sized firms in West Virginia to increase their competitiveness. The project will address a unique need for which no other funding sources are available. The results of these services will be a greater number of companies that are increasing the range of their market and market share, and a commensurate increase in the number of jobs retained or created.

“These upgrades are going to be phenomenal, and we really appreciate the Appalachian Regional Commission for giving us the ability to recommend and give these grants to these communities throughout West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “These projects will not only address many of our community and economic development needs in the state, but also take advantage of our assets so that we can continue to grow our economy.”

The West Virginia Department of Economic Development administers the state’s ARC program, which is a partnership of federal, state, and local participants providing financial and technical assistance for economic development and infrastructure projects.

The Governor’s recommendations will now be sent to ARC for final approval.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.