HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – June 28, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – June 28, 2018

ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  June 28, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 26


Improved water infrastructure will protect 1,000 jobs in Northwest Georgia’s robust floor covering industry. Photo Source: Floor360

Improved Water Infrastructure Protects Jobs and Businesses in Northwest Georgia

ARC and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced a joint $1.2 million investment to the city of Chickamauga, Georgia, for critical upgrades to the water system serving a flooring manufacturing factory. The infrastructure improvements, including enhanced pressure flows for fire mitigation, will also benefit additional business in the area. According to grantee estimates, this investment will help protect 1,000 manufacturing jobs, including those at the area’s largest employer, and could attract up to $100 million in private investment. Tim Thomas, ARC Federal Co-Chair said, “Without efficient and upgraded infrastructure, industry can neither grow nor expand. In addition to benefiting Chickamauga’s businesses and local economy, this infrastructure improvement will make the entire floor covering industry stronger.”

Designated as part of EDA’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), Northwest Georgia is the global leader in the floor covering industry. Known as “The Carpet Capital of the World,” 85 percent of all carpet manufactured in the US is produced in Georgia. The region’s industry base is comprised of a diverse set of companies, including multinationals, medium-sized firms, and innovative start-up companies, primarily in textile and textile mill manufacturing, as well as in organic fiber manufacturing, resource and energy conservation, waste reduction, and efficient processing techniques. Floor 360, a voluntary group of industry stakeholders led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, is committed to creating economic prosperity in Northwest Georgia by ensuring the region’s future as a global leader in advanced manufacturing for the floor covering industry.


Visitors paddleboard on the New River Water Trail. A new boat landing will offer another river access point and attract more tourism to the Southwest Virginia area.
Photo Source: New River Water Trail Facebook page

New River Access Point to Boost Tourism in SWVA

Officials in Giles County, in Southwest Virginia, broke ground today on the Eggleston Boat Landing that will allow river goers easy, safe, and convenient access to the New River. This new public access point will be part of the New River Water Trail, which helps visitors take part in activities on the river, like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and swimming. It also connects with hiking trails, wildlife viewing, local lodging and dining options, and other tourist attractions in the area. The New River Water Trail is a cooperative effort between Giles County Administration, Giles County Tourism, New River’s Edge, New River Outdoor Company, Tangent Outfitters, local passionate citizens, small business owners, and lodging businesses in the county.

The development of the new boat landing is just one part of an ARC POWER grant, in partnership with Friends of Southwest Virginia, to develop the outdoor recreation industry by improving, enhancing, and increasing accessibility to natural and cultural assets, as well as supporting related entrepreneurial and business development in surrounding communities and downtowns. Other efforts under the umbrella of this initiative include: establishing an Appalachian Trail Center in downtown Damascus, Virginia, serving as a launch point for visitors to explore Damascus’ recreational attractions, such as the Appalachian and Virginia Creeper Trails and the nearby Mount Rogers National Recreation Area; building a 30-mile multi-use trail to connect the 300,000 annual visitors to Breaks Interstate Park with the business district in downtown Haysi; and constructing a 4,000-square-foot Gateway Center at the High Knob Recreation Area for more centralized access to numerous nearby recreational assets. This effort builds on the existing Appalachian Spring Initiative, which started in 2012 as part of an overall effort to restructure the economy of Southwest Virginia by investing in the region’s artisan, cultural and heritage music assets. The strategy resulted in significant increases in visitor spending, new business growth, tax revenues and employment in the region’s tourism sector. Overall, as a result of the POWER funding, the project is expected to create 60 new businesses, 200 new jobs, and increase the travel and tourism dollars spent in southwest Virginia by $30 million over the next five years.


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



ARC is currently recruiting a Health Program Analyst to develop and deploy a regional health strategy focusing on opioid and substance abuse prevention, recovery, and pathways to employment for those who are impacted.

The complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.


Clay County Business and Development Authority promotes tourism with new rail bikesWCHS, Charleston, West Virginia

Local farms open up to the public for farm toursJohnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee

SOAR building and connecting leaders around the regionWYMT, Eastern Kentucky

SWVCTC technology programs expandingWilliamson Daily News, Williamson, West Virginia

Building Hope in Appalachian OhioYale Insights


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.