Convention and Visitors Bureau/LEDC gets $1.5M from ARC POWER Initiative

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 18, 2022

SOUTH POINT — The Lawrence County Convention and Visitors Bureau/ Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation have been awarded $1.5 million by the Appalachian Regional Commission to increase tourism to enhance the county’s economies through creation of a regional collaboration of Underground Railroad cultural assets for coal-impacted communities with nearly 20 partners in nine counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.

Partners include Shawnee State University, The Macedonia Project, Marshall University Research Corporation, Marshall University, Ohio University Southern, Boyd Greenup County Branch of NAACP, Greenup County Tourism Commission, ECDI, Inc., C.B. Nuckolls Community Center & Black History Museum, Brown County Tourism, Huntington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, SSU Center for Public History, Visit AKY, Boyd County Tourism, Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau, Portsmouth & Scioto County Visitors Bureau, Greenup Arts and Ripley Heritage.

This award is part of ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. 

Email newsletter signup

“Our coal-impacted communities are a vital part of Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties—when our coal communities thrive, our entire region is uplifted,” ARC federal co-chair Gayle Manchin said. “POWER projects will not only help struggling coal communities to once again compete in a global marketplace, but also expand support for the creation of new jobs through growing Appalachia’s economy.”

Including the most recent award announcements, ARC has invested over $368.1 million in 449 projects impacting at least 360 coal-impacted counties since POWER was established in 2015. A new evaluation conducted by Chamberlain/Dunn indicates that a majority of POWER projects met or exceeded output and outcome targets, with ARC’s investments projected to have helped create or retain more than 39,600 jobs and prepare over 100,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism, and other growing industries.