OVRDC to Help Applicants Prepare for Appalachian Community Grant Program

OVRDC Adds Consultant to Help Communities Apply for Appalachian Community Grant Program Funds

Now is the time for historic investment and opportunity in our region, and OVRDC has taken steps to increase capacity for our members to access the unprecedented funding of the Appalachian Community Grant program. OVRDC has secured an experienced contract project manager and grant writer to join our team as a consultant. The consultant will be Ken Reed, a native of Vinton County and resident of Hamden. Ken will assist staff and counties with developing multi-million-dollar grant applications for submission to the Appalachian Community Planning and Development Grant Program.

Mr. Reed has extensive director-level experience and over 30 years of documented success writing, administering, and implementing a wide variety of state and federal grant programs and projects in southern Ohio, including winning applications for the USDA Rural Development – Community Facilities Loan Grant Program, Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG), Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), USDA Loan Packaging Grant, Housing Preservation Grant (HPG), Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Economic Development Administration (EDA), and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), just to name a few highlights.

As community partners begin to assess project development ideas, Ken will be available for meetings starting as early as the first week of July. Please reach out to him with an email or phone call during regular business hours to kenreedconsulting@gmail.com or call 740-856-9738. You may also call our office to discuss project ideas and connect at (740) 947-2853.

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, Jackson, 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).  OVRDC is proud to play a role in this program and encourages its communities to take advantage of this once in a generation opportunity. Be creative! Think big! Think about bringing partners together to capitalize on the uniqueness of your community, county and finding ways to connect surrounding areas and regional partners.

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 up to December 31, 2024, and awardees must expend all grant funds by December 31, 2026.