Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs bill investing $500 million in Appalachia

WTAP News @ 6- Gov. DeWine signs House Bill 377
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 7:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio. (WTAP) - In a ceremony in the Appalachian Garden at the Governor’s mansion in Columbus, Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 377 on June 28. The bill establishes the Appalachian Community Grant Program.

Governor DeWine visited the People’s Bank Theater in Marietta in late April where he pledged $500 million towards Ohio’s Appalachian counties.

The funding contained in the bill, $500 million, will help unite Appalachian communities, such as Washington County, on transformational local projects with three priorities: infrastructure, health care, and workforce development.

During his state of the state address on March 23, Governor DeWine stated quote: “This is Appalachia’s time”.

“The state of Ohio is not all about Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland,” Governor DeWine said. “They’re very important, but it’s also about the Meigs counties, the Lawrence counties. It’s about the Washington counties. It’s about, you know, the smaller communities where so many of Ohioans live so many of Ohioans work. And so this is, you know, our efforts to say, look, these counties are not forgotten. These counties are important. They’re an integral part of Ohio.”

Governor DeWine said the money being allocated is federal dollars and they’re one-time dollars. He said local communities will make the decision and plan on how the money will be spent because local communities know best where and how they would like to spend the money. He advised community members to go out to meetings whether it be County Commission meetings or City Halls and offer up ideas and hold discussions about where community members believe the money should go towards.

Governor DeWine said he hopes this money will make a big difference for Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties especially after seeing more people coming to Appalachian communities for tourism.

“You know, we’ve got 75 state parks in the state, many of them are located in our 32 Appalachian counties,” Governor DeWine said. “And so instead of just someone going into that state parks spending the money there and leaving, you know, we’re starting to see communities that border those state parks say, look, we got things to offer here, we want you to stop here, we got a bed and breakfast here. We, you know, we got a hardware store here, we got this here, places where you can stop and you know, have a good time, restaurants and other things. So Appalachia is moving up.”

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