KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — On Thursday, the Kanawha County Commission announced that it has received $675,210 in a POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The money will be used for the Upper Kanawha Valley Outdoor Recreation Plan.
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The commission says the grant will be matched with funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Kanawha County Commission, bringing the total amount committed to the project to $1.2 million.
“I applaud the Kanawha County Commission for their work in expanding and creating new businesses that will support an outdoor recreation economy in West Virginia,” said Gayle Manchin, ARC Federal Co-Chair. “Partners like the Kanawha County Commission play an important role in making our POWER projects a reality, and I look forward to seeing our Appalachia region continue to grow through the impact of their work.”
“I would like to thank the Appalachian Regional Commission, its Federal Vice Chair Gayle Manchin, and the Benedum Foundation for this opportunity,” said Commissioner Ben Salango. “The Upper Kanawha Valley has been devastated by the downturn in the coal industry and the loss of coal jobs. We have a big vision for the future of UCT and this POWER grant is a big step towards making that vision a reality.”
Commission President W. Kent Carper said: “The upper Kanawha Valley has suffered terrible losses in recent years but I believe this award will benefit the residents of UKV and every town along the Kanawha River – from Marmet to Montgomery. I sincerely thank Gayle Manchin, Co-Chair of the Federation, and the ARC for this award.”
Commissioner Lance Wheeler commented, “This is a wonderful announcement and a great day for Kanawha County and the residents of the Upper Kanawha Valley! This grant will enable the county to drive economic development and small business growth in UKV.”
The Kanawha County Commission has completed the 2021 Outdoor Recreation-Based Economic Development Plan. The plan will cover the 30-mile area from east of Charleston to the town of Gauley Bridge in Fayette County.
Planned projects include trail design and development, improved recreational flow access, small business growth and the opening of the Hatfield McCoy Trail System in Kanawha County. The full plan can be viewed here.