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HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – July 12, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – July 12, 2018

ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  July 12, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 27

ARC SPOTLIGHT

Community members in Manchester, Kentucky, participate in a mobile design studio set up by a cohort of interns with CEDIK, as part of a downtown revitalization effort.

Downtown Revitalization in Kentucky’s Promise Zone

The Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) at the University of Kentucky (UK) is providing a regional approach to revitalize the downtowns in the Promise Zone, an eight-county region of southeast Kentucky significantly affected by the downturn of the coal industry. Partnering with Kentucky Small Business Development CentersKentucky Main Street ProgramFoundation for Appalachian KentuckyKentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and local partners, CEDIK is assisting communities in creating downtowns that incorporate art, culture, design and the authentic experience of the community. CEDIK provides each community with tailored studies that identify economic opportunities, supports strategic planning sessions to capitalize on those opportunities, offers access to implementation funding, and builds local leadership and business capacity. The Downtown Revitalization Project is a three year effort, funded in part through the ARC POWER Initiative.

Nearly 50 attendees representing 12 downtowns and all eight Promise Zone counties attended the project’s quarterly convening in Pineville last month. Following previous gatherings in Harlan and Barbourville, the June convening provided a space for downtown stakeholders to come together and share ideas, strategies, and information vital to successful revitalization efforts in the region, including a productive discussion about ways communities can assist developers with gathering pertinent information so they can move forward with plans. During lunch, attendees heard about a special project of the downtown revitalization effort in Manchester, Kentucky. Ryan Sandwick, CEDIK’s Community Design Specialist, along with a cohort of interns with backgrounds in planning and design, are working with the city to create a menu of potential projects that can be used as a foundation for future investment. The students presented their findings regarding traffic flow, pedestrian traffic, building inventories and multiple maps illustrating what they have learned about Manchester at the mid-point of the summer project.

UK’s CEDIK is doing impressive work on behalf of communities in Kentucky beyond the Downtown Revitalization Project and recently announced its participation in Create Bridges, a pilot program to strengthen retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment industries in rural Kentucky. With funding from the Walmart Foundation, the Southern Rural Development Centerand collaborative partners– the University of Kentucky, University of Arkansas, and Oklahoma State University– will develop, refine and pilot a process to help rural communities build their capacity for strengthening their retail and hospitality sectors.

INVESTMENTS IN ACTION

Members of a Green Mining class plant lavender on a reclaimed surface mine.
Photo Source: Green Mining Model Business Program Facebook page

Green Mining on West Virginia’s Reclaimed Surface Mine Lands

Using reclaimed surface mine lands, the Green Mining Model Business program has built a self-sustaining business model to train individuals to grow and harvest lavender. The ARC-supported project brought 17 public and private partners together to operate a system of linked activities designed to cultivate value-added crops and extract high value products to market and sell. The program is based at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park, which provides access to its multi-million dollar chemical manufacturing facilities and chemical separation experts, and assists participants in the Green Mining program in developing value added lavender oil products. A major objective of the program is to provide displaced coal and energy industry workers with training, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities. To date, two classes of students have gone through the program, which focuses on everything from crop cultivation and value-added product development to product marketing and business development. The West Virginia Small Business Development Centers is assisting Green Mining participants to set up their own companies.

In the first year of the program, Green Mining selected lavender plants that are best adapted to be grown on reclaimed mining sites in West Virginia for the production of the highest quality essential oils. Now, Green Mining is working closely with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and project partners to transition the program to the cooperative model. Moving forward, the cooperative will assume a central role in providing training and services to build upon the success of the program and explore cultivation of crops beyond lavender. The economic opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs created by the Green Mining Model Business program are diverse and exciting.

UNDERSTANDING APPALACHIA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY

The University of Tennessee and ARC are currently conducting a region-wide study of Appalachian tourism. The study, to be completed early next year, is one of the largest research projects ever conducted on this expanding Appalachian industry. Results from the survey will help tourism officials and vendors improve visitor experiences. They will also help ARC determine new priorities and evaluation methods. As part of this study, the research team has developed a survey for visitors to the Appalachian Region. The survey, which takes about 5 minutes to complete, includes questions related to travel preferences, travel planning, and regional perceptions. Please help the effort by taking the survey at www.appalachiasurvey.com.

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APPALACHIA IN THE NEWS

ReUse Industries opens combined store/makerspaceAthens News, Athens, Ohio

Franklin County Schools receive $110,000 grantFranklin Free Press, Russellville, Alabama

Garrett College will use ARC funds for STEM technologyCumberland Times-News, Cumberland, Maryland

Johnson City Water and Sewer receives two infrastructure grants totaling $1.9 millionJohnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee

Monterey improves access to Meadow Creek ParkHerald-Citizen, Cookeville, Tennessee

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

ARC invites proposals from qualified researchers and consultants to conduct a large-scale program evaluation of approximately 385 water and wastewater infrastructure projects funded by the Commission in the Appalachian Region between fiscal years 2009 and 2016. The evaluation will determine the extent to which these projects have succeeded in achieving ARC’s strategic goals; inform ARC of ways to better encourage innovation as well as develop, assess, and manage water and wastewater infrastructure projects; and enhance ARC’s ability to document and report program impacts. Proposals are due by August 10, 2018. Learn more and download the RFP here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Mined Land Reforestation Conference
Indiana, Pennsylvania
August 8-9

Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Opportunities Conference
Fairhope, Alabama
August 21-23

SOAR Summit 2018
Pikeville, Kentucky
August 30-31

Map of the Appalachian Region
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.