Historic Investment in Appalachia Ohio with the Appalachian Community Grant Program

Gov. DeWine Signs the Historic Appalachian Community Grant Program into Law Surrounded by Local Leaders and Legislators

Back in April, Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted visited our region to announce a proposal to designate $500 million dollars to fund the Appalachian Community Grant Program. On Tuesday, surrounded by Ohio General Assembly members, county commissioners including OVRDC Chairman Barry Woodruff and other officials, Gov. DeWine signed HB 377 into law.

The transformational Appalachian Community Grant Program funding will be available for projects in the 32 Appalachian Ohio counties and address local priorities in three main project focus areas.

  • An infrastructure component, such as main street or downtown redevelopment, improvements to multi-community connecting trails, significant outdoor community space, links to community arts, history, and culture, or access to telemedicine services
  • A healthcare component, such as investments in school or community-based services to address children’s physical and behavioral health needs or plans to address the ongoing challenges of substance use disorder in the region
  • A workforce component, such as public-private partnerships designed to build and coordinate technical, educational, clinical and workforce infrastructure

The program will be administered through the Ohio Department of Development, with strong involvement from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia and the Local Development Districts (LDD), including the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC), which serves the Appalachian counties of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Gallia, Highland, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton. The other Ohio LDD partners include Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, and the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA).

Final guidelines are expected to be coming soon, and applications for both planning and development funding will be available in multiple rounds, maybe starting as early as August. All grants awarded shall be approved by the Controlling Board.

The law outlines two award categories under the program, as follows:

  1. Appalachian Planning Grants – will be available during the first year from the effective date, $15 million or up to $30 million for Appalachian Planning Grants as determined by the Director of Development
  2. Appalachian Development Grants – during the first year from the effective date, $50 million shall be used to award Appalachian Development Grants to grant recipients that did not receive an Appalachian Planning Grant

When reviewing project applications, the Department shall give priority to projects that include the following characteristics:

  • Has region-wide scale or impact
  • Is evidence-based
  • Includes a private-public partnership
  • Is economically sustainable
  • In the Department’s assessment, will prove transformative to the region impacted by the project

The final deadline for program approval awards is December 31, 2024, and awardees must expend all grant funds by December 31, 2026.

For questions or more information, please contact John Hemmings, OVRDC Executive Director, at (740) 947-2853.

L to R:  OVRDC Chairman Barry Woodruff, First Lady Fran DeWine and Gov. Mike DeWine, and OVRDC Executive Director John Hemmings attend the signing ceremony of HB 377 on Tuesday, June 27, 2022.