DeWine announces proposal for $500 million investment in Appalachia


Staff report



On Thursday DeWine visited the Portsmouth Welcome Center to share a proposal for a $500 million investment that would support local initiatives to revitalize downtown districts, enhance quality of life, and help rebuild the economies of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

On Thursday DeWine visited the Portsmouth Welcome Center to share a proposal for a $500 million investment that would support local initiatives to revitalize downtown districts, enhance quality of life, and help rebuild the economies of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.


PORTSMOUTH — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine made a stop in Portsmouth to announce details of a proposal to make an investment in the Appalachian region of Ohio.

On Thursday DeWine visited the Portsmouth Welcome Center to share a proposal for a $500 million investment that would support local initiatives to revitalize downtown districts, enhance quality of life, and help rebuild the economies of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

“What we are proposing for the general assembly to pass is a $500 million investment in our Appalachian counties in the next two years just from this specific program,” DeWine said in a crowded room. “The job of the governor and the job of the governor’s cabinet, at least how I see it, is to be helpful and assist in that area.”

The $500 million proposal, dubbed “Ohio BUILDS – Small Communities, Big Impact – A Plan for Appalachia” would infuse funding into the proposal’s three priority areas of restoring historic downtowns, improving community health and rebuilding the local workforce.

The proposal includes a $50 million planning phase to allow Appalachian communities and regional partnerships to develop plans that incorporate each of the three funding priorities. Following the planning, $450 million in implementation grants would be invested to help communities and regional groups carry out qualifying projects to rejuvenate the region and stimulate economic growth.

“We are going to leave it up to the local communities to come up with a plan, and that will be phase one,” DeWine said.

Since the beginning of the DeWine-Husted Administration, the Ohio Department of Development has invested more than $472 million in Appalachia Ohio to improve infrastructure, expand broadband access and boost development. This new proposal aims to build on those investments by prioritizing funding to create vibrant downtowns, recreational areas, and cultural attractions to draw residents and tourists to the region; provide much-needed health care services to area residents and address substance use disorder; and develop the local workforce to prepare the next generation for jobs of the future.

“This use of the money for education and workforce development, this really fits in with what Lt. Governor John Husted and I have really been focusing on since the day I became governor,” DeWine said. “Our goal is that every Ohioan has the ability to live up to their God-given potential.”

“This is really an unprecedented opportunity for us,” DeWine said. “We’re not going to have this money in the future again. We want to spend it on something that is really going to be transformative. So, there is no better way to be transformative than to allow the local communities to decide how to spend that money.”

Ohio’s 32 contiguous Appalachian counties are Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington.

“I have been representing Appalachia throughout my career, and I know the opportunities that exist in our region,” said Governor’s Office of Appalachia Director John Carey. “On behalf of my fellow Appalachians, I’m incredibly grateful for Governor DeWine’s commitment to help provide opportunities for this wonderful place that so many of us call home.”

The proposal will have to be voted on and passed through the General Assembly, but DeWine shared he has confidence in the proposal and that it will pass. Once funding is secured, the program is to be administered through the Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia within the Ohio Department of Development and other agency partners.

“This is just the beginning of a lot of work, of things that have happened and going to happen,” DeWine said. “Things are looking up for Ohio, and the sun is shining.”

Scioto County Commissioner Scottie Powell shared he was excited to hear the announcement and what the money could be used for.

“Anytime there are extra funds coming to Appalachia it’s a good thing,” Powell said. “It’s a big win for our community and a big win for Appalachia. It’s a nice step forward to basically jump-start our recovery.”

The program will be part of Governor DeWine’s Ohio BUILDS Initiative, which focuses on supporting targeted solutions that impact quality of life, such as water infrastructure improvements, broadband expansion, brownfield redevelopment, the demolition of blighted buildings, and more.

On Thursday DeWine visited the Portsmouth Welcome Center to share a proposal for a $500 million investment that would support local initiatives to revitalize downtown districts, enhance quality of life, and help rebuild the economies of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_DeWine-2.jpgOn Thursday DeWine visited the Portsmouth Welcome Center to share a proposal for a $500 million investment that would support local initiatives to revitalize downtown districts, enhance quality of life, and help rebuild the economies of Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

Staff report